La Vuelta #5: Merhawi Kudus Shines to Finish 2nd

Huge and historic. An incredible and courageous ride by our 23-year-old Eritrean rider Merhawi Kudus saw him finish 2nd place on the fifth stage of Vuelta a Espana.


Alexey Lutsenko (Team Astana) won stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana while our young Eritrean, Merhawi Kudus put in an incredible ride to place 2nd on the stage. Marc Soler (Movistar) rounded out the podium in 3rd while Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the overall lead.

Stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana was an incredibly difficult 175km from Benicassim to Alcossebre. The riders had to contend with 5 categorised climbs on another scorcher of day, where the centigrade averaged in the mid to high 30’s. From the start, there was a number of attacks and Merhawi Kudus found the right move for Team Dimension Data and made the all-important break of the day.

Kudus was joined by 16 other riders to form a strong group, one which Team Sky kept close tabs on initially as the gap was held between 2 and 3 minutes for most the day. Kudus and his breakaway mates pushed on and eventually the gap grew. The decisive moment in the stage came just as the penultimate climb of the day was completed with 50km to go. Marco Haller (Katusha) attacked the break as the descent started and Lutesenko and Matej Mohric (UAE Emirates) bridged across on the downhill.

Kudus’ chasing group was not working well together and the gap started to grow to the leaders. Eventually they began attacking one another, trying to get rid of the passengers. 4 riders went clear on the long valley road that led to the final climb of the day, Kudus included. Mohric dropped from the leading group and was soon caught by the Kudus chase group.

With 11km to go, Kudus and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) rode away from their chasing counterparts, in hot pursuit of Haller and Lutsenko. At this stage the peloton was well out of contention at over 6 minutes back.

Our slight Eritrean climber and Gougeard started the final 3km climb 40 seconds behind the leading duo and almost immediately, Lutesenko dropped Haller and Kudus dropped Gougeard as the road pointed upwards. Kudus flew into 2nd place on the road but Lutsenko was riding well to keep his advantage. In the end, the climb was not long enough for Kudus to claw back Lutsenko, but a courageous ride nonetheless from our 23-year-old Eritrean saw him finish 2nd on the stage.

Merhawi Kudus – Rider

It was quite hard to be in the breakaway today, spending over 4 hours in the wind and then having to finish on a very steep climb like that. There was a headwind most of the day but luckily, we were a lot of guys in the break so we could keep the gap over the peloton. On the 2nd last climb the attacking started, it wasn’t very steep so it didn’t suit me but I just followed as best I could. Having to chase those 2 guys on a flat road before the last steep climb was really difficult. I am very happy with 2nd position though, I am motivated to take another opportunity now.

11 thoughts on “La Vuelta #5: Merhawi Kudus Shines to Finish 2nd

  1. Thank you & congratulations Merhawi,
    Merhawi is born to ride and this is only the beginning.

    Viva Eritrean cycling federation
    Viva Eritrea.

  2. #Eritrea that´s you all that time in that part..Thank you wedi Haras Nebri to let shine our beloved country..Ade welida temken..Merhit anbessa.

  3. Merhawi withdrew La Vuelta after a crash accident … wish him a quick recovery …

    “Merhawi got a very big cut in his knee, and the race doctor told him he should stop and get in an ambulance because it was very deep,” Bingen Fernández, Dimension Data sports director, told Cyclingnews as he stood outside the team bus after the stage. “He’s got another cut above his eye, more cuts in his face, and cuts and bruises everywhere else because the crash was at 50 or 60 km/h.”

    The crash was at the mid-way point of the race, kilometre 105 of the 207 in total on the stage. “It was just after the feed zone, coming out of the village, but it’s not clear what exactly happened,” Fernández said.

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      1. We need to remember he got an impressive 2nd place on stage 5. Hence i is definitely ours. God will look after Merhawi as he was blessed by him from the start.

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