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Tour du Rwanda. Stage 7. Merhawi Kudus maintains lead despite bad luck

The Astana rider Merhawi Kudus had a double bad luck in the final of stage 7 of the Tour du Rwanda: firstly, he crashed down on the descent with 7 km to go and later, he got a flat tire inside the final kilometer of racing. But, despite this fact, he was able to keep his yellow jersey of the leader in the general classification.

- It was a very difficult stage. Many teams and riders tried to attack us, but our team stayed well together, helping Merhawi Kudus to answer to these attacks. On the penultimate climb Kudus did a strong attack and was able to get some advantage. But, unfortunately, on the descent he crashed down. Hopefully, there was not anything serious and Merhawi was able to come back on the bike quite quickly. So, he joined his rivals immediately. All went good and with 1 km to go on the final climb Kudus attacked again to try to get a gap, but in the next moment he’s got a puncture, so he could not continue pushing as hard as he needed. Finally, he finished the race on flat tire and lost some seconds to his rivals, but anyway, he is still leading the GC. A very hard last stage is waiting for us tomorrow, we will do our best to defend our lead, - said Sergey Yakovlev, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

Stage 7 from Nyamata to Kigali (84.1 km) ended with a victory of Yacob Debesay, who attacked from the early breakaway to take a solo win.

Astana Pro Team did a big effort tot help Merhawi Kudus during the stage, so in a moment he attacked on one of the climbs to try to select the group of the GC favorites. The Astana rider was able to go away on the climb, but later a crash and a flat tire did not allow him to extend his advantage.

With only one stage to go in the general classification Merhawi Kudus has a 7-second advantage on Rein Taaramae, who is currently second in the overall.

The final, 8th stage will be held tomorrow: 61.7 km in Kigali.

Photo credit: ©Tour du Rwanda

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