Joe Blackmore and Moritz Kretschy showed their class as they both finished in the top 10 on the queen stage of the Tour du Rwanda, a day that saw Itamar Einhorn ignite the race in spectacular style as he honored the race leader’s yellow jersey in style.

IPT Academy riders Blackmore and Kretschy took second and eighth respectively, with only 16 riders contesting for the victory at the end of a grueling third stage from Huye to Rusizi that included 3,154 meters of climbing through the Nyungwe Forest.

Although yesterday’s stage winner Itamar Einhorn lost the race lead, the Israeli road race champion beautifully honoured the yellow jersey, as his attack a little over halfway into the 140.3-kilometer stage ignited the action and ultimately led to the first GC shake-up of the race.

Both Blackmore and Kretschy sit level on time with new race leader Pepijn Reinderink (SQD).

“The stage played out pretty much as I thought it would,” says Blackmore. “It was quite controlled for most of the day, then we sent off a few attacks, including one from Itamar, which livened the race up.

“I expected it to go full gas on the last descent, and I was willing to push there myself. I had to follow a few attacks coming into the finish, which made it interesting, but it meant that only a reduced group came to the finish line. I produced a good sprint to finish second, so I’m happy.”

While the results sheets will forever draw people to the performances of Blackmore and Kretschy, Einhorn’s ride during stage 3 should never be forgotten. While some riders may have tried, perhaps selfishly, to retain the yellow jersey at all costs for solely personal glory, the Israeli road race champion rode for the team’s interest.

“I had nothing to lose today and I was looking to create some chaos in the race for the benefit of the team,” also, you don’t just give away your yellow without a fight,” Einhorn notes. “So I tried to attack a few times and even created a breakaway. The last climb, though, was too much but I am really happy and proud with my physical condition. I am looking forward to helping the team. The second place by Joe was a good result – it was very close to being a perfect day for the team.”

With five stages – including Thursday’s 13-kilometer individual time trial – remaining, Sports Director Ruben Plaza believes IPT is primed to build on this exciting start to the race so far.

“Everything is going well, we have Joe and Moritz where we wanted to have them, so we are happy and excited,” he says.

“We were able to arrive at the finish with our strongest two riders in the front group after the hardest stage of the race, so we are close on GC now. We can also play different cards in the coming days – there are riders who have lost time after working for Joe and Moritz, like Chris for example, so we can try and use them to our advantage.”

More to follow…