Badilatti storms to victory at Tour du Rwanda

Matteo Badilatti took an impressive solo win on Stage 6 of Tour du Rwanda this Friday, February 24 notching the second victory for Q36.5 Pro Cycling this season and the first of his career as a professional cyclist. 

24 February 2023

With 157 km from Rubavu to Gicumbi and five categorised climbs on the menu, Stage 6 presented another hilly challenge for the Tour de Rwanda peloton. Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team rode offensively from the start covering all the initial moves. 

Badilatti successfully made the day’s eight-rider breakaway that attacked from the gun and, even though the peloton kept them on a tight leech never giving them more than three and a half minutes gap, the advantage proved sufficient for the 30-year-old Swiss to secure the win in emphatic style in Gicumbi.  

The winning move came with 35 km to go, on the lower slopes of the penultimate climb. Badilatti attacked, left his breakaway companions behind and held off the chasing peloton to secure a classy solo victory. 

 First Victory 

It was the first professional victory for Badilatti, who back in 2019 had finished on the GC podium of Tour du Rwanda. 

“We were very offensive from the very beginning and in the end it paid off with a nice victory and the second place of Walter (Calzoni). One of our main goals for this race was to get a stage win so, today, the goal was to be up at the front. The breakaway went from the very beginning. Initially the group wasn’t riding very cohesively but then we started to ride smartly. I went alone on the penultimate climb and I was quite confident I was going to make it to the finish. I had to pace myself and do my efforts at the right moments. That was actually the moment, on that penultimate climb, that I realised I could go for the win,” said Badilatti at the finish.

“Worked really well as a team”

Walter Calzoni had yet another stellar performance and crossed the finish line in second place, 10 seconds after his teammate Badilatti, making it a 1-2 for the team. The 21-year-old Italian neo-pro now sits in third place on the General Classification, just seven seconds shy of the current yellow jersey.

“It was great that Walter managed to take second place on the stage. He is ridding very strongly and we really believe he can finish this race with a top result. We worked really well as a team all day with Walter and Nahom (Zeray) covering all the attacks in the peloton,” added Badilatti. 

With two stages remaining in the 2023 edition of the Tour du Rwanda and the first goal of taking a stage win achieved, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team is now focused on the Overall Classification. 

“This victory means a lot and it’s very important for the team. We started in a good way and now it’s about keeping the momentum and try to get more wins. This victory is also for Carl (Fredrik Hagen) and Filippo (Conca) who started this race but were forced to abandon. We are really looking forward to the next two stages and to try to get the big Win,” concluded Badilatti. 

The Tour du Rwanda concludes this weekend with the two final stages taking on Mount Kigali and the Mur de Kigali in the Rwandan Capital.