ace: Tour du Rwanda, Stage 8
Start/Finish: Kigali / Kigali, Rwanda
Distance: 82.2 kilometers
Kigali, Rwanda – After winning the penultimate stage at the Tour Du Rwanda, Spaniard David Lozano sprinted to second on Stage 8. Team Novo Nordisk’s CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland said he is extremely proud of Lozano’s efforts in a race that saw the 29-year-old win one stage, earn three 2nd places and take one 3rd place.
“David rode this week with the strength of the 1,500 people with type 1 diabetes in Rwanda backing him. The bike is a powerful vehicle for change, and David’s consistent performance showcased to all of Africa what can happen when you invest in the life of a person with diabetes,” Southerland explained. “We had many obstacles in the team, yet mentally David stayed strong all the way to the final finish line. He has inspired the entire team and our global community.”
Sunday’s 82.2-kilometer stage featured multiple laps around Kigali with two intermediate sprints and seven categorized climbs including two-times up the Kigali Wall. All escapees were caught as the race reached the Wall, which whittled down the front to an elite group of climbers. Azzedine Lagab (Groupement Sportif des Petroliers Algerie) pipped Lozano at the line.
Throughout the race, the local Rwandan diabetes community showered Team Novo Nordisk with support and encouragement. At the start of each stage, kids with type 1 diabetes came out to meet the team and cheer them on throughout the challenging race.
The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team returns to racing at the six-day Tour de Hongrie on Tuesday. Stage 1 is a 4-km individual time trial. The prologue starts and finishes in Siófok.
Looking back on the most successful stage race of his road career, Lozano reflects that hard work and extreme dedication allowed him to achieve these results.
“Before coming to this race, I asked my teammates who had raced here before what to expect, and everyone told me it was an amazing race but also really hard. I dedicated myself to a month of training at altitude in Andorra. Being away from my family was mentally difficult but this was my race of the season, and I wanted to ensure every aspect of my training was dialed in. This consistency paid off.
“I’m leaving this race feeling fulfilled and proud of myself, but even more so, it feels amazing to know that I’ve left an impact on all the people with diabetes in Rwanda. I can’t wait to come back!”
Southerland is also keen to return to Rwanda in 2019 when the race moves up to a UCI 2.1 categorized event.
“I want to thank the organizer and the country of Rwanda for giving us this platform and have tremendous gratitude to the millions of fans who came out to cheer us on,” Southerland said. “We are eager to return to the race next year at its new spot on the racing calendar in February.”
1st: Azzedine Lagab: (Groupement Sportif des Petroliers Algerie): 2:06:20
2nd: David Lozano: same time as Lagab
3rd: Didier Munyaneza: ”
(Photos: © nilslaengner.de)