IPT’s return to the Tour du Rwanda started promisingly on Sunday with a strong second-place finish in the opening stage team time trial around the capital city of Kigali.

The quintet of Joe Blackmore, Itamar Einhorn, Chris Froome, Moritz Krestchy, and Guy Sagiv posted a competitive time of 21’08” for the 18.3-kilometer course, beating the benchmark at the time by an impressive 31 seconds.

In the end, they were only beaten by the Soudal – Quick-Step Devo Team, although, in an attempt to keep the GC as competitive as possible, the times for this stage will not count towards it.

IPT’s five riders will therefore start Monday’s second stage, the second longest of the race between Muhanga and Kibeho (129.4 kilometers), level on time with leader Jonathan Vervenne.

“It was a super ride, but, of course, when you set the fastest time you hope to go on and win the stage,” says Sports Director Ruben Plaza. “We need to recognize that the guys did a decent job and showed that they are in good shape and really motivated for the race.”

Joe Blackmore presented with the King of the Mountains jersey
Photo: Blackmore after being presented with the King of the Mountains jersey

As a result of Vervenne taking the lead in all the key classifications, IPT Academy rider Blackmore will wear the white King of the Mountains jersey on stage 2.

“I think we rode really well up to the final climb, then managed our effort to get to the finish line with three riders, so overall that was a good day,” said the British rider. “My legs were good today, I was able to take some longer turns on the front towards the end, so that was encouraging.”