James Piccoli moved up to second place in the general classification of the Tour du Rwanda. After executing sublime race tactics, attentive racing, and a great explosion of power from the GC-contender himself on the final climb, the Canadian climber dropped most of his GC-competitors.
Norman Vahtra spent his day in front. He tuned in for a breakaway of seven riders that made it to the finish line. Vahtra, who isn’t specifically a climbing specialist, was caught by the peloton at just the right time.
Vahtra and Edo Goldstein made an important move on top of the penultimate climb, taking the lead on the wet descent. By taking responsibility on the downhill, they stayed safe and dictated the pace. The peloton was split in three parts at the bottom of the climb.
Piccoli was then delivered to the final ascent in perfect position. He didn’t have to battle for position and could put his watts on the road to gain positions in the GC.
“I gave everything I had today,” Piccoli said after the finish. “I had to, because the team is riding better every day.”
Sports director Lionel Marie agreed with him: “Once again, I saw an incredible team. Omer Lahav and Edo Goldstein worked so well, and Guy Sagiv in the role of a road captain works out super here.”
The Canadian climber finished fifth, and second of the GC-contenders. Ultimately, Piccoli gains three positions in the battle for the yellow jersey in Rwanda.
Piccoli: “I’m happy to gain a few spots in the general classification. I have confidence for tomorrow. The gap with the yellow jersey is not big at all.”
The final weekend in the Tour du Rwanda will be decisive for the overall victory, starting tomorrow with a short and explosive individual time trial. Sunday’s last stage is difficult enough to make a difference as well.