Israeli rider Omer Goldstein finished second in the seventh stage of the Tour du Rwanda. After a whole week of trying, the escapees kept a gap on the peloton. Goldstein went solo on the final summit but was beaten with 150 meters to go.
“On the descent towards the final climb, I went solo”, Goldstein said after one of the most impressive efforts seen yet from an Israeli cyclist. “I knew my breakaway companions were chasing me, and, unfortunately, the stage was just 150 meters too long.”
At every stage, Goldstein, who was team leader for the first time in his life, was in the breakaway of the day. At every stage, Goldstein believed in his chances and demonstrated strength. In some stages, Goldstein got close to the victory, but never before he was so close to winning a stage as he was today.
It was another completely uncontrolled day of racing in Rwanda. There were countless attacks, but the decisive breakaway only went after 75 kilometers of racing. Cole Kessler and Omer Goldstein represented the Israeli team in the front group.
“Cole did a great job. He pulled a lot and gave his all for us to stay away.”
When the final ascent, the super steep Mount Kigali (the last kilometer was 14.3% average) arose on the horizon, Goldstein’s solo journey looked very promising. The peloton wasn’t in the game anymore, Goldstein’s gap with the chasing group only increased, to a maximum of 25 seconds.
“I thought, I am going to make it, I am going to do it. I am going to win the stage. I was giving my everything, was on the limit.”
From the back, French rider Alan Boileau was on a mission. With 150 meters to the finish, he tackled our Israeli climber, and shred his dreams to pieces.
“I just could not anymore. When he passed me I knew, this race is 150 meters too long.”
Obviously, Goldstein was disappointed after the finish. He fell into the arms of the team doctor, barely able to stand on his legs anymore. “I got so close”, he gasped for air. “So close.”
He was not devastated though. “I cannot blame myself for anything. I fight and fight, and fight more. I know from myself I completely emptied the tank and there is nothing I could do extra.”
The Israeli ITT champion has shown incredible perseverance in the Tour du Rwanda, so far. Goldstein wakes up every morning with the belief that he can win a stage. He digs deep, every day again. As a consolation, Goldstein received the award of most competitive rider, a jersey he will wear with mixed feelings in the last stage of the race Sunday.
Sports Director Gordon Fraser said he was proud of the whole team effort. “The whole week we’ve been a close group, and I am proud how we picked up the glove, every day again. There is one more stage, and additional motivation is what we bring to Sunday’s stage.”