Algeria Cycling Tour-2023: 4th victory for Hamza Yacine, Hennequin remains overall leader

The Algerian Hamza Yacine (Madar regional team) claimed a fourth victory in Algeria Cycling Tour (ACT-2023) winning the 8th stage between Skikda and Jijel on Tuesday, while the Frenchman Paul Hannequin (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur) kept his yellow leader jersey with two days to go before the final finish of this 23rd edition of the Tour.

During this 150 km long stage, Hamza sprinted against his six breakaway rivals, crossing the finish line with a time of 3h42’54”. The second position of the stage went to Travis Stedman (Q36.5-Italy) ahead of the other Algerian Nassim Saidi (Mada regional team) with the same time.

After a relatively calm start, a group of 10 riders, among them four Algerians, namely Hamza Yacine and Nassim Saidi, members of the regional Madar team, Youcef Reguigui (terengganu Polygon) and Salaheddine Cherki (Majd el Guerrara), managed to take a one minute lead on the peloton before the first difficulty of the day, a first category climb at the 25th km of the stage.

Riding on a difficult course, with a lot of slopes and dangerous downhills at 10%, the frontrunners improved their lead to two minutes at Ain Kechra (66 km), where Reguigui, victim of a tyre puncture as well as two other riders, were caught by the peloton led by the Eritrean national team.

Thanks to a good collaboration, this group of seven cyclists stayed in the lead of the race, stabilizing the gap around the two-minute mark until 20 km from the finish, moment chosen by the peloton to start the chase for the break.

But the seven frontrunners managed to keep a ten seconds advantage at the end of the stage (last kilometre) to fight for the stage victory, a victory that went once more to the best sprinter of the Tour, Hamza Yacine, who won his fourth stage and the fifth one for his team, after those won in M’sila, Batna, Constantine and Skikda.

At the end of this eighth stage, which witnessed the withdrawal of Adam Lafalla from the Algerian U23 squad, Frenchman Paul Hennequin kept his yellow jersey of leader with two seconds ahead of Italian Edoardo Sandri (Q36.5 Continental Cycling Team) and four seconds ahead of Eritrean Aklilu Ghebrehiwet. The best Algerian rider, Ayoub Ferkous (Majd el Guerrara), is in 5th place, 11 seconds behind the leader.

Hennequin also kept the white jersey of the best espoir (U23), while Eritrean Yemane Dawit kept the polka dot jersey of the best climber.

On Wednesday, the 76-strong peloton will head to Bejaia for the 9th stage over a distance of 88.5km, before the 10th and final stage of the ACT-2023, which is scheduled to finish in Tizi-Ouzou on Friday.

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