African Cycle Sport
African Cycle Sport – the next big thing?
It wasn’t that long ago – though I guess that is totally age dependent – that British cycle sport was in a pretty poor shape, especially on the world stage with just a clutch of riders competing in the top races. Fortunately in recent years English speaking riders and more recently British riders, have come to feature and even dominate in some cases, world cycling in one way or another, whether it be on the track, road, cyclo-cross or mountain biking. However, just as it would seem that English speaking riders are ready to enjoy a long reign over world cycling, another large pool of talent has started its emergence into the ranks of professional cycling that could, if the sport of running is anything to go by, trounce all others – the Africans.
Just as with American, Canadian, British and Australian riders twenty years ago, there are relatively few African riders in the peloton. Once African nations get their domestic cycle racing scenes sorted and their cycling teams are more readily able to access the best technology in the ongoing cycle-tech arms race, their pool of riders will grow rapidly. Then, if the aerobic capability of African runners is anything to go by, African nationals will emerge as a major force in world cycling.
We recently covered Rising from the Ashes the truly inspiring story of the Rwandan cycling team under the tutelage of Jock Boyer. With African cycle sport looking particularly healthy, there follows three more short films which we have put together into one article to show the progression of African cycling.
As with Rising from the Ashes this first video, BAISIKELI: The Story of an African Cycling Team, is a teaser for the full film which you can pre-order on Kickstarter. It tells the story of how the Kenyan National Cycling has emerged and hints at what they may be able to achieve in cycling.
We recently covered the SRAM equipped Trek Madones of Team MTN Qhubeka on CycleTechReview.com, in an article which predicted that sprinter Gerald Ciolek might go well at Milan San Remo and briefly covered the amazing story behind the team.
You may have heard of Songezo Jim, the first South African black rider to compete in a UCI WorldTour event, which was the Milan-Sanremo that his teammate Ciolek managed to win.
In atrocious weather conditions Jim didn’t finish the race – along with a fair few other riders much more accustomed to the cold – but that doesn’t matter really. His story is much bigger than just finishing a race. An orphan at 14, Jim started cycling at 16 and joined MTN-Qhubeka in 2012. We are pretty sure he’ll have plenty of other chances to finish in San Remo…
This film tells his story and gives us an insight into the man behind the pioneering rider.
Finally, here is a video offering a more in-depth look at the first African Pro Continental Cycling Team, MTN-Qhubeka – ‘An African Bicycle Dream’.
More information: Baisikeli