Rwanda 11/17 teams starting
Rwanda 11/17 teams starting
Riders really rode well..
Rocky was stellar with the first attack of the day after about 2 kms!.. then more as we keep going.
At the top of the big climb there were 5 in front that stayed in front the
whole way, Nic Nic, Gasore, Nathan, Emmanuel and Joseph..
They all worked pretty much together the last 50kms, Nicodem attacked with
about 5kms to go and they could not catch him. Gasore tried but did not
have enough there. Gasore led out the last km and got passed by Nathan,
Emmanuel and finished 4th.. Joseph was strong all day took some great pulls
and was very close back at 5th.
This is a land of manual labor, everywhere you go you see people cultivating, riding bikes with massive loads, digging trenches, sweeping the road, loading trucks and pounding rocks.. yes pounding rocks massive rocks to smaller size rocks all the way down to gravel size rocks to be used in the roads.. I live in the volcano region and at any point of a ride I can see men pounding pumice rocks… they might be using small hammers or sledge hammers, but they are pounding away all day long every day.
It was stage three of the Kwita Izina, a yearly event formerly called the “Tour of the Volcanoes” and appropriately named with three stages passing through the Virunga Volcano range shared with Uganda and the DRC, home of the Volcanoes National Park and the rare Mountain Gorillas. But this year was different; it was a UCI 2.2 stage race on the “Africa Tour” race circuit attracting top teams from Eritrea and Morocco among our neighbors Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Yesterday Adrien had lost ground on a brutal stage from Kigali to Kinigi… not just to three Eritreans but to one Moroccan and his two Lieutenants, Nicodem and Gasore. He had been racing full on since January with top performances at the Cape Epic (9th overall and best African team with Mannie Heymans), a victory in a Nissan MTB classic, a stunning 3rd in the 9 day Joberg to sea after a brutal crash damaging his right quad, barely being able to walk.
Tomorrow one former illiterate Rwandan orphan kid whose life from the age of his farthest memory was obsessed with bikes will depart with his riding partner to the jewel of Europe, Switzerland. How ironically appropriate. They will arrive in a country that has seen no violence even amidst the ravages of World War II whose method of operation is founded on orderliness, discipline, strict adherence to laws,democracy, respect to the environment and respect to animals from a country whose past violence has been what defines it, whose population so fearful of animals they find no reason to try to co-habitat with them, from a continent whose reputation has been that of chaos, mayhem and abject disregard to ones neighbor, ecology, the environment and whose central motivation of its leaders is wealth and power at any cost.