- First of all I thank my team for a huge support during this race! I thank my teammates and all the staff, the team was absolutely amazing, motivating and encouraging me every day! Today’s stage was short and hard, but we could control it perfectly, from start and until the finish line. We had a good tactic for this stage: Rodrigo attacked on the second lap, while I remained in the group, controlling my main rivals. Today I felt quite good and my plan was just to defend the jersey and not to risk. In the end, everything worked out as we planned, we took 1-2 in this stage and I won the yellow jersey. I am so happy with my win, but, of course, it couldn’t be possible without my teammates, - said Merhawi Kudus.
The Tour du Rwanda has been ended with an iconic short stage (61.7 km) in Kigali with a triple pass of the legendary cobbled climb Mur de Kigali. After many attempts, it was Astana’s Rodrigo Contreras, who broke away clear with around 20 km to go. Storming on Mur de Kigali, Contreras was able to get a good advantage of 50 seconds, enough to take his maiden victory as Astana Pro Team rider.
- It was a long and hard race with a few stages with cobbles in the end. But, finally, we did it! We won the general classification and three stages, so, we can be more than happy! I am happy to take my personal victory, it is so nice to win here in Rwanda, for the first time in Astana jersey. We have spent a nice week and now I am looking forward to the next goals of the season, - said Rodrigo Contreras.
Behind the shoulders of Contreras, the battlefield for the general classification remained for Merhawi Kudus, who finished second in this stage, closing all the questions about the 2019 Tour du Rwanda overall winner.
Thus, Rodrigo Contreras and Merhawi Kudus brought Astana Pro Team the 14th and 15th wins in the current season. Besides, today’s success of Kudus is Astana’s 7th victory in general classification of stage races.
Photo credit: ©Tour du Rwanda