Lill bags Tour of Rwanda win

2012-11-26 20:47

Johannesburg - South Africa won its first Tour of Rwanda when Darren Lill retained the yellow jersey after the seventh stage in the 2012 edition of the cycling race.

He claimed the overall win, with compatriot Dylan Girdlestone finishing second. Lill captained the six-man national team.

The Tour of Rwanda ended on Sunday in Kigali with a stage of 124.3km.

After starting in Kigali nine days earlier, international teams toured the scenic and hilly Rwandan countryside to ride 876km in total, starting with a Prologue on Sunday November 18.

Lill was not feeling up to peak fitness prior to the Tour after recovering from a virus.

"This was an unexpected win for me," said the 30-year-old from Cape Town.

"I went as part of the team to help the younger guys, so to claim the overall victory has come as a surprise.

"I felt it was a good tour, with challenging stages, and great terrain, which made for positive racing. There is fantastic talent in Africa, but I think my experience in international racing, and being a mentor to my younger team-mates gave our team the edge, especially when we cannot use race radios."

National team manager for the Tour of Rwanda, Ian Goetham, was impressed with the team's performance on his first international outing with the squad.

"We had very good days that were well planned, and we succeeded. The team camaraderie was very high, and they all understood the goals of the tour. From stage one, the initial plan was to get the yellow jersey and win the tour."

Further to holding the top two positions in the top 10 of the final general classification (GC), South Africa also won the Team competition.

Cycling SA's road cycling director Hendrik Wagener was pleased with the results.

"We always hope for a win when we send a team to an international event. To have a first and second place in the final overall GC is a great achievement, and gives us a great base to build on in the early stages of our aim to take part in more African events."