Tour du Rwanda

24 Feb - 3 Mar 2019

TEAM Pro Team

CITY Various


TEAM Pro Team CITY Various STAGES 8


“All the team protected me during the day. I did my best, I was 17th in finish, it wasn’t a top result but I look forward to build on it and be better in the next stages.” David Lozano breaks down the opening stage of the 2019 Tour du Rwanda.


(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 1

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 1

Start/Finish: Kigali/Kigali, Rwanda

Distance: 111,8 kilometers

Kigali, Rwanda, February 24, 2019 —Team Novo Nordisk kicked off their campaign in the 2019 edition of Tour du Rwanda with a solid team effort that saw Spaniard David Lozano finish safely in 17th position in the group of the main favorites.

Running as an UCI 2.1 event for the first time ever the 11th edition of the Tour du Rwanda started with a short but hectic 111,8km stage in Kigali. The rainy and cold conditions at the start dissuaded most of the 16 teams peloton from going on the attack but eventually a break of four riders broke free.

Florian Hudry (Interpro Cycling Academy), Rohan du Plooy (ProTouch) and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Benediction) quickly opened a sizable gap before Moise Mugisha (Rwanda) managed to bridge across. The four-man break were allowed to build an advantage of over five and a half minutes before the peloton was stirred into action.

As the race entered in final circuit in downtown Kigali it was all together and a bunch sprint was within sight.

Team Novo Nordisk rode strongly all day and kept Lozano always in the best position in the key moments of the stage. However, as the peloton entered the last 500mts the Spaniard narrowly avoided a crash, had to hit the breaks and was taken out of contention for the stage. Nevertheless, Lozano did very well to finish with the main favorites in the 17th place on the day, just six seconds shy of the winning time.

In the final sprint Italian Alessandro Fedeli (Team Delko Marseille) took the stage honors and is the first overall classification leader of the 11th edition of the Tour du Rwanda

The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team continues racing at the eight-day Tour du Rwanda on Monday. The 120.5km Stage 2 will begin in Kigali and finish in Huye and will include 4 categorized climbs.

David Lozano:

“It was a really nervous stage which is always the case of any stage race. The end was hard because we had a circuit with three climbs. All the team protected me well during the day and in the end, with five kilometers to go I was there with Joonas (Henttala) who closed some gaps which gave me a little bit of calm before the last hill. I did my best, I was 17th in finish, it wasn’t a top result but I look forward to build on it and be better in the next stages.”

DS Pavel Cherkasov:

“I’m really happy with the first stage because all the team executed the strategy that we set up prior to the race. The field is stronger this year and we adjusted the tactics according to that in order to help David (Lozano). I felt that everyone really committed themselves and did a great job in executing the strategy that was established, so I’m happy about how today went.”



1st: Alessandro Fedeli (Team Delko Marseille): 2:41:32

2nd Yacob Debesay (Eritrea): same time as Fedeli

3rd: Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille Provence): ”

17th: David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk): “

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


“I talked with David during the stage and he told me that if I felt good I should sprint.” The Team Novo Nordisk Tour du Rwanda squad breaks stage 2.


(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 2

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 2

Start/Finish: Kigali/Huye, Rwanda

Distance: 120,5 kilometers

Kigali, Rwanda, February 25, 2019Finn Joonas Henttala showed his fighting spirit by crossing the line in Huye in 19th place after having worked most of the stage for teammate David Lozano.

Stage two of the 11th edition of Tour du Rwanda started in the capital Kigali and saw the peloton head south on a hard parcours that included four KOM’s, the first of which immediately after the neutralised zone.

Four riders animated the proceedings by going on the attack. The quartet opened a gap with ease but the peloton kept them on a tight leash, holding the gap steady at a little over five minutes. Team Novo Nordisk rode safely in the main bunch, eager to protect Lozano, who was our card to play in the finale. However, our strong Spaniard didn’t have the best legs on the day and conceded 26 seconds to Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana) who out-sprinted the competition to take the stage win in Huye, catapulting himself into the GC lead.

Joonas Henttala stepped in to fight for a result in the final and secured a 19th placing on the line despite being unable to launch his sprint. Our experienced Finn is now Team Novo Nordisk’s best placed rider, standing in 19th on the overall classification.

This Tuesday, Stage 3 between Huye and Rubavu will be decisive for the general classification and will be the longest ever in the history of Tour du Rwanda with 213.1km and five categorised climbs.

Joonas Henttala:

“I talked with David (Lozano) during the stage and he told me that if I felt good I should sprint. Unfortunately there was a small split on top of this climb and I found myself a couple of wheels too far back. We had to go full gas on the last kilometre on the flat just to close the gap to the first group and I ran out of legs and was unable to sprint after that.”




1st: Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana): 3:02:17

2nd Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille Provence): ”

3rd: Biniyam Ghirmay (Eritrea): “

19th: Joonas Henttala (Team Novo Nordisk): “

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


David Lozano breaks down stage 3 of the 2019 Tour du Rwanda, where solid teamwork helped the Spaniard finish inside the top 10.


(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 3

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 3

Start/Finish: Huye/Rubavu, Rwanda

Distance: 213.2 kilometers

Kigali, Rwanda, February 26, 2019David Lozano survived a gruelling day of climbing and came across the line in a hard fought 9th place on stage 3 of Tour du Rwanda.

The 213.2 kilometres stage from Huye to Rubavu, the longest ever in the history of the race, was the first real test for the GC contenders and Team Novo Nordisk rose to the challenge. With no less than five climbs on the menu, three of which Cat-1, it was a mammoth day in the land of the thousand hills with Merhawi Kudus’ Team Astana blowing the race apart as early as 100 kilometres to go. Showing off his climbing pedigree David Lozano held fast in the front group but the punishing pace set and sudden cramps meant our strong Spaniard was unable to follow halfway through the Cat 1 climb to Kabaya.

As Kudus came across the line victorious for the second stage in a row, cementing is lead in the overall classification, Lozano found his pace and came back strongly to take a hard fought 9th place in Rubavu, a result that enabled him to climb to 14th on the GC.

Joonas Henttala worked diligently for Lozano and in the end finished just outside the Top-20 which allowed him to keep his 19th place on the overall classification.

This Wednesday the peloton will face another hard day of climbing with four categorised climbs over the course of 102.6 kilometres from Rubavu to Karongi.

David Lozano:

Today was a tough stage with five big climbs. Astana started to pull really hard on the climb to Kabaya and they destroyed the race. I tried to save as much energy as possible to get the best position in the end. I managed to do top 10 and I’m really happy. I was with Joonas (Henttala) during most of the long climb and that gave me a lot of calm before the storm. When the guys started attacking I tried to follow and became somewhat empty but little by little I started to recover. It’s hard in the altitude but the boys are happy.”

DS Pavel Cherkasov:

Today was the longest and hardest stage so far in this Tour du Rwanda. We did 220 kilometres with a couple of first category climbs. All our riders did a big effort today. David (Lozano) was in the first group then experienced a little difficulty with cramps but was able to overcome that and finish in the Top-10. Overall I’m really happy with the teamwork shown by the boys today.”




1st: Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana): 5:21:15

2nd Rein Taaramäe (Direct Energie) 0:00:15

3rd: Matteo Badilatti (Israel Cycling Academy) 0:00:43

9th: David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk): 0:09:52

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


David Lozano breaks down stage 4 of the 2019 Tour du Rwanda and shares how the tough stage affected his blood glucose.


(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 4

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 4

Start/Finish: Rubavu/Karongi, Rwanda

Distance: 102.6 kilometers

Karongi, Rwanda — David Lozano sprinted to a solid fifth place on Stage 4 of Tour du Rwanda and moved up to 7th in the general classification. 

Team Novo Nordisk’s tactic for the short but intense stage to Karongi was to try and place Lozano in the breakaway, not only to contest the win in Karongi but crucially to climb some places in the overall standings.

After a hectic start our 30-year-old Spaniard made the break along with 17 other riders, including teammate Joonas Henttala. However, our Finn, who started the stage in 19th on GC, was struck by two untimely mechanicals and was unable to come back to the front group.

In the finale, and despite nearly crashing in the last kilometre due to a touch of wheels, Lozano capitalised on his powerful kick to secure a fifth place on the day. The result and respective time gain on the peloton enabled Lozano to climb from 14th to 7th in the overall classification.

Colombian Edwin Avila (Israel Cycling Academy) won the stage while Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana) crossed the finishing line in the main bunch, over five minutes in arrears. Nevertheless, the Eritrean keeps the yellow jersey with 17 seconds advantage on Rein Taaramae (Team Direct Energie).

Stage 5 of Tour du Rwanda will be another hard day for the peloton as the riders will face a hillier challenge with four climbs, three of which Cat-1, over the course of 138.7 kilometres. 

David Lozano:

“Today the plan was to go in the breakaway and climb some spots in the overall. In the end we achieved that goal and I also managed to finish top 5 on the stage so I’m pretty happy. With one kilometre to go I touched my front wheel with the rider in front of me and I broke one spoke so I couldn’t sprint as well as I wanted but I was still Top-5. I came to this race with the ambition to do Top-10 in the overall. After the first two stages I was kind of out of the fight but now I’m back in the game. My head is once again in the fight for the overall.”



1st: Edwin Avila (Israel Cycling Academy): 02:37:32

2nd Pablo Torres (Interpro Cycling Academy): “

3rd: Sirak Tesfom (Erytrea): 00:00:03

5th: David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk): 00:00:05

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


Team Novo Nordisk neo-pro Ulugbek Saidov, who raced Tour du Rwanda with our development squad, shares what it’s like to return as pro.


(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 5

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 5

Start/Finish: Karongi/Musanze, Rwanda

Distance: 138.7 kilometers

Musanze, Rwanda — David Lozano made the most of a hectic stage to place himself within striking range of the top 5 in the overall classification at the 2019 Tour du Rwanda.

Sweltering temperatures turned the hilly stage 5 from Karongi to Musanze into a race of attrition with 11 riders going up the road and establishing the day’s breakaway, amongst them Biniyam Ghirmay (Eritrea) who ended up sprinting for the win, his second of the season.

In the peloton Team Novo Nordisk rallied around David Lozano to defend his GC aspirations. The 30-year-old Spaniard rode strongly in the main bunch and crossed the finishing line in 29th position, just ahead of the Yellow Jersey Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana) a result that enabled him to climb one position to sixth place in the General Classification.

Joonas Henttala was our best placed rider on the day. Our Finn followed late attacks in the main group and notched a 15th place on the line – the fourth fastest from the bunch – crowning a stellar performance in a tough stage where he worked diligently for Lozano, notably giving his wheel when the Spaniard suffered a puncture with 20km to go.

With this result Henttala reentered the Top-20 in the GC while Lozano now sits in 6th place, just 26 seconds shy of the Top-5.

This Thursday, another hard day in the saddle awaits the peloton on the 121.1 kilometers stage 6 from Musanze to Nyamata which includes 4 categorized climbs.

Joonas Henttala:

“It was a really fast day with a hard start. I tried to follow the first attacks because we had to keep an eye on a couple of guys who were behind David (Lozano) so we could keep the Top-10 in the GC. The breakaway didn’t pose too much danger today and in the end I tried to pull for David. I think the team did a great job today. Then towards the end of the stage there were some attacks and I just followed one of them and tried to finished off the day on a good note.”



1st: Biniam Girmay (Eritrea): 03:42:01

2nd Joseph Areruya (Delko Marseille): “

3rd: Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy): “

15th: Joonas Henttala (Team Novo Nordisk): 00:02:58

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


“I’m happy with the legs, happy with the form, tomorrow we fight again!” Joonas Henttala breaks down his 6th place finish on stage 6 of Tour du Rwanda.



(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 6

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 6

Start/Finish: Musanze/Nyamata, Rwanda

Distance: 121.1 kilometers

Nyamata, Rwanda, — Joonas Henttala flew the flag for Team Novo Nordisk on Stage 6 of Tour Du Rwanda and secured the best result so far in his professional career outside of the Finnish National championships.

The 27-year-old Finn, racing his seventh season for the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, was part of the 9-riders breakaway that got clear early in the 121.1km stage to Nyamata. The gap was kept south of five minutes all day but no team took on the responsibility to chase allowing the break to stay away and fight for the stage honors.

With teammate David Lozano safely protected in the bunch Henttala got the green light to fight for a result and took a strong sixth place on the finishing line. A flurry of attacks in the last kilometres and with two teams having two riders each in the break Henttala was forced to close down several moves, compromising his performance in the final sprint.

Polish rider Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille Provence) won the stage ahead of Pablo Torres (Interpro Cycling Academy) and Youcef Reguigui (Algeria).

Lozano finished comfortably in 25th place in the main bunch and successfully defended his 6th place in the overall classification which is still led by Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana).

This Saturday, Stage 7 will be a short but explosive affair with 5 KOM’s packed into an 84.1 kilometres stage that will link Nyamata to the capital Kigali.

Joonas Henttala:

“Today was a really hard stage in the break. It was a fast start with a seven kilometres climb and successive attacks all the way to the top. After a fast descent there was a flat section and I think we were maybe just 30 guys with the race completely split up. Afterwards a couple of guys tried to go clear and I followed them. That made the break of the day. We worked well together until maybe 10 kilometres to go. I tried to follow all the moves but two teams had two riders in the break so for me, being alone, it was difficult to cover everything. I tried to and spend a lot of energy there. In the end they could afford to play more having more guys up front. I’m a bit disappointed, it could have been better but I’m happy with the legs, happy with the form, so tomorrow we fight again!” 



1st: Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille Provence): 02:49:57

2nd Pablo Torres (Interpro Cycling Academy): 00:00:03″

3rd: Youcef Reguigui (Algeria): 00:00:07″

6th: Joonas Henttala (Team Novo Nordisk): “

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 7

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 7

Start/Finish: Nyamata/Kigali, Rwanda

Distance: 84.1 kilometers

Kigali, Rwanda — David Lozano left everything on the road and claimed another top 10 for Team Novo Nordisk in Tour du Rwanda cementing his sixth place in the overall classification with only one stage to go in the recently upgraded 2.1 UCI race.

At the start of the short but gruelling Stage 7 in Nyamata Lozano had his eyes set on repeating the victory he achieved in the penultimate day on previous edition of the race. The tactic was to race offensively and our Spanish rider did just that by making the day’s breakaway of 15 riders.

With team-mate Ulugbek Saidov supporting him at the front Lozano rode strongly all day but an untimely puncture at a crucial stage – with all but 30km to go – meant he had to chase back to the dwindling front group and make up a deficit of more and one and a half minutes solo.

The effort took its toll on the 30-year-old rider but he fought on to cross the finishing line in an honourable eight place, a result that does little justice to his performance on the explosive parcours, which included 6 categorised climbs, four of which with rain drenched cobbled sectors.

The stage was won by Yacob Debesay (Eritrea) while Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana) crashed and saw his advantage in the lead of the overall classification shrink to just seven seconds over Rein Taaramae (Direct Energie), his most direct opponent.

Lozano gained some time on most of his rivals but maintains his sixth place in the GC while teammate Joonas Henttala also had a solid day in the saddle and keeps his Top-20 position.

Tour du Rwanda 2019 concludes this Sunday with the 61.7 kilometres stage in Kigali which includes seven Cat-1 climbs. The peloton will tackle the infamous Mur de Kigali – a cobbled 400 metres climb of 14.5% average gradient – three times and with the GC fight wide open a fast-pace and attacking race is expected to unfold.

David Lozano:

“Today we played to win. We placed two guys in the break, Ulugbek (Saidov) and myself. He did all his best to protect me and save my legs for the final. He did an amazing job and I’m so glad he was there with me. Afterwards it was up to me, I did my best to stay at the front and in the long pavé climb I attacked and I bridged to the two leaders who were at the front. Then I had the bad luck to suffer a puncture in the front wheel. At that moment I didn’t have the team car with me so I lost one and a half minutes to the guys in front. Eventually I changed the wheel and came back to them, which shows I had good legs, but at the end I was just a little bit tired. Still I think we have to be happy because we did really great team work. Tomorrow is the last stage and we will try again!”  



1st: Yacob Debesay (Eritrea): 02:12:35

2nd Alessandro Fedeli (Delko Marseille): 00:00:21

3rd: Adrien Guillonnet (Interpro Cycling Academy): “

8th: David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk): 00:00:26″

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)


Team Novo Nordisk concluded the 2019 Tour du Rwanda with Spaniard David Lozano sealing a sixth place in the overall classification. Watch the recap of Stage 8 in Kigali.

2019 Tour du Rwanda - Stage 8

Race: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 8

Start/Finish: Kigali/Kigali, Rwanda

Distance: 61.7 kilometers

Kigali, Rwanda —The 2019 edition of the Tour du Rwanda concluded this Sunday with Team Novo Nordisk’s David Lozano successfully defending his sixth position in the overall classification on the explosive final stage in Kigali.

In the final stage was a short 61.7kilometres circuit race within Kigali with no less than seven climbs to overcome, including three ascents of the unforgiving “Wall of Kigali”, a 400 metres cobbled climb of 14.5% average gradient.

Astana took the reins early in the day and dictated a demolishing pace that split the peloton right on the first lap. Rodrigo Contreras (Astana) went on the offensive and rode solo upfront for more than half the stage to claim the biggest win of his career so far.

David Lozano rode strongly in the group of favourites and did very well to respond to successive attacks to defend his standing in the overall. Ultimately, the 30-year-old Spaniard crossed the finishing line in 19th position, a result that enabled him to retain the sixth position in the general classification, four minutes and 50 seconds down on Merhawi Kudus (Astana) who was second on the day, securing the overall win of the 11th edition of Tour du Rwanda.

The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team completed the 8-stage race with all five riders, one of only four teams to achieve such feat, showing character and true strength in depth. Eight days of stellar teamwork that enabled Lozano to bounce back from a less than ideal start to finish strongly in the six position on the GC. Furthermore, Team Novo Nordisk concluded the race with four Top-10 placings.

David Lozano:

“This final stage was a really short one but we had six KOM’s, three of them with pavé with over 14% gradient. It was a really hard course and for those who like numbers it was over 350 watts for 63kg so it was a really hard day. I was with the first group until the last kilometre but I was pretty empty after the effort of yesterday. We have to be happy with our performance, the whole team really committed to me and we did the work we needed to do. I think we finished on a high note and we’re ready for the next races!”



1st: Rodrigo Contreras (Team Astana): 01:33:10

2nd Merhawi Kudus (Team Astana): 00:01:06

3rd: Alessandro Fedeli (Delko Marseille Provence): “

19th: David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk): 00:01:43″

(Photos: ©Nils Laengner)