“His victory makes him the fourth Eritrean to win the Tour of Rwanda title.”
Henok Mulubrhan, the 23-year-old Eritrean who rides for Italian team Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè, was crowned winner of the 15th edition of one of Africa’s biggest cycling races on Sunday after an outstanding performance in the last and decisive stage.
He claimed his first Tour du Rwanda title after clocking 58 hours 28 minutes and one second, covering a total distance of 1,054.6 kilometers.
With this victory, Henok Mulubrhan becomes the fourth Eritrean to win the Tour of Rwanda title.
“I have always dreamed of winning the Tour du Rwanda because it is the toughest race in Africa. It will remain a great moment in my career because now I have proved that I can win a big race,” said Henok Mulueberhan.
The young Eritrean remained very focused during the whole stage and even wanted to add some decoration to his yellow jersey by winning the last stage in front of his rivals in the overall classification.
🔥🇪🇷 The smashing continues!!!! @henokmulubrhan the Red Sea camel wins stage 8 in style. Our national anthem, our flag 🇪🇷🇪🇷and our pride are so high today. Thank you #Heni. The feeling is indescribable!! Congratulations Brother !!!! @tour_du_Rwanda #Cycling #Velo #Eritrea 🇪🇷🇪🇷🇪🇷 pic.twitter.com/YyhRgjIBTi
— Nora (@Nora_isle) February 26, 2023
After only 75 kilometers around Kigali, he rod hard to win the final climb ahead of Joseph Blackmore (Great Britain) and Victor de la Parte (TotalEnergies), who arrived at the same time.
The eighth and final stage had only 75.3 kilometers, a short day that motivated the attacks from the outset. Belgian William Junior Lecerf, second overall, took the lead. Initially, he managed to escape with three riders, but a few kilometers later, a group of about fifteen riders, including the leader Henok Mulubrhan, joined him.
The group with the favorites was in the lead all day. Dawit Yemane (Bike Aid) was the first to attempt the final climb, which was 5.2 kilometers long and had an average gradient of 6.5%, but he was unsuccessful. Lecerf then made several attempts but could not get the leader out of his wheel.
In the closing, Lecerf from the Soudal Quick-Step Development Team had to put one foot on the ground due to a mechanical problem and lost important seconds. In the last hundred meters, it was the African Continental champion Henok Mulubrhan who raced convincingly to victory and secured the final triumph.
Stellar achievement; Congratulations! Henok Mulubrhan wins 2023 – African Continental Championships,120km Men Elite One Day Race, in Accra, Ghana. Henok is crowned as African Champion for the second time in a row
— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) February 13, 2023
The podium is completed by Walter Calzoni (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) tied with the winner, and William Junior Lecerf (Soudal – Quick Step Devo Team) ranked one second behind.
1 – MULUBRHAN Henok (Green Project-Bardiani CSF Faizanè) in 28:58:01
2 – CALZONI Walter (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) m.t
3 – LECERF William Junior (Soudal – Quick Step Devo Team) + 0:01
4 – FROM THE Victor PART (TotalEnergies) + 0:04
5 – MAIN Kent (South Africa) + 0:33
6 – BLACKMORE Joseph (Great Britain) + 0:39
7 – YEMANE Dawit (Bike Aid) + 0:59
8 – TOLIO Alex (Green Project-Bardiani CSF Faizanè) + 1:09
9 – KUSZTOR Peter (Team Novo Nordisk) + 2:27
10 – BIZKARRA Mikel (Euskaltel – Euskadi) + 3:51