This is why the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 team exists.
OK. Throughout this website is a gratuitous fashion spread of cyclists and ladies we found in the village of Iten, for no other reason than that Nicholas Leong couldn't think of new and interesting ways to photograph a bunch of guys on bikes.
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running." Put a human in the equation, and that's why Kenyans are the best marathoners in the world.
Well yes, but not just running. The sport of cycling remains the least diverse of all global sports, and it needs more brothers in it. Kenyan Riders-Safaricom are here to add colour to the world of cycling!
Read on and you'll see why we think we're on to something.
Kenyans are the best endurance athletes in the world. The tribes that produce all that talent make up something like 0.03% of the world's population but account for 60% of the marathon winners.
It so happens that cycling is an endurance sport. So the idea is to find endurance talent, give them bikes, and get them training!
This is Vivian Cheruiyot. She's a World and Olympic champion, and she has a big engine. She probably has a younger brother, and we want him to ride a bike. But he probably doesn't want to, because if he had any talent, he'd want to run.
So we've done the next best thing. We've come to Vivian's village- Iten- and started a cycling camp.
We have a hungry bunch of strong young men, coaches, great sponsors like SAFARICOM on board, and a partnership with BIKE AID in Germany. This is a full fledge structure to get a bunch of fast guys to the Tour de France...eventually.
Yup. You read it right. Because anyone who's ever thrown a leg over a bike in anger dreams of the Tour de France. So our project is the moonshot.
But maybe not. This is Salim Kipkemboi. Salim comes from Vivian's tribe, but all he's ever wanted was to ride a bike. In our first encounter with him, he was transporting firewood, barefooted, on his African bike. He's as tough as nails. He went through a circumcision ceremony where 11 of his fellow inductees needed to be hospitalised. Truth to tell, for a guy who's not yet 20, he's been through quite a lot, and he knows how to suffer.
After a 4 year apprenticeship with us in at Kenyan Riders, Salim is now a full-on professional cyclist with our partner team, BIKE AID.
There are many more Salim Kipkembois out there, and some of them are in the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 development team, but we're always on the lookout.
Three documentaries and numerous news features have been made about us. Here's a trailer for the next documentary feature. The director had a drone, which makes it quite cool:
Every summer, the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 team goes to Europe and participates in amateur and small professional races. This is our springboard to the BIKE AID continental cycling team, and a ladder to climb up the ranks.
In 2017, as in all years, Kenyan Riders-Safaricom have a packed schedule of races lined up for the rest of the year, and are looking forward to delivering useful performances in tours and races in Europe and Africa.