Estonian national road race champion Norman Vahtra nearly delivered Israel Start-Up Nation the first spot on the podium in the Tour du Rwanda.

Vahtra barely manages to click out of his pedals after the finish when he falls down on his handlebars. For minutes he keeps his head down, gasping for air. “I was on the limit in the final”, he says when he arrives at the team van.

“The beginning of the race was easier than I expected. However, the second half was significantly harder,” Vahtra said.

“We caught the breakaway pretty early, and then riders started attacking again. In the last kilometers I was just holding on.”

Vahtra: “Then, with a kilometer to go, there was time to rest. I could recover a little bit and sprint.”

He finished second in the bunch sprint. However, two riders broke away in the last kilometers.

Tomorrow is the longest stage in the Tour du Rwanda, with plenty of elevation.

Photos: Sjors Beukeboom and Jean Chris Kitoko

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