Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi dies during gravel race in Vermont Overland


The cycling world is mourning a professional cyclist from Kenya named Suleiman “Sule” Kangangi, who died from injuries sustained in a cycling accident during the Vermont Overland gravel race on Sunday August 29.

Kangangi, from Eldoret, Kenya, was 33.

“The Vermont Overland is heartbroken by the tragic death of Suleiman “Sule” Kangangi during The Overland yesterday,” said race owner Ansel Dickey. “He was a kind friend and an inspirational, heroic athlete to his teammates and the gravel cycling community as a whole. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, the Amani team and the people of Kenya who mourn his loss today.

Details of Kangangi’s accident were not available.

Related: Meet Suleiman Kangangi

Kangangi was a member of the new Amani team, a team of off-road riders from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. He was the team captain, bringing with him a wealth of road racing experience. Several members of the Amani team are in the United States this month to participate in several cycling races, including the Leadville Trail 100 MTB and SBT GRVL events. Kangangi had recently completed both races.

“Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also father, husband and son. Gaping holes are left as the giant falls. Sule was a giant,” the team wrote on social media. “Instead of leading us at the front of the pack, he will now lead us as our guiding North Star as we move forward in achieving his dream.”

Kangangi had previously pursued a professional career in road bike racing before switching to gravel. From 2016 to 2020, he competed in the Bike Aid African professional road team, and in 2017 he finished third in the Tour du Rwanda, a prestigious professional event. During his professional road career, Kangangi competed in professional road races in China, Australia, France and Italy, among other countries.

In recent years, Kangangi had switched to gravel cycling, and his career change was heavily impacted by Kenya’s gravel event, called the Migration Gravel Race, a four-day stage race that debuted in Kenya in 2021. The race brought American Ian Boswell and Dutchman Laurens ten Dam, among other professional riders, to compete against budding East African cyclists on gravel in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

“I always dreamed of going to the Tour de France,” said Kangangi BikeNews in 2021. “When I started cycling, it was a dream. But now that I’m 32, that dream is fading fast. But I realized, I’m used to these gravel roads, it’s part of me. I don’t need to go get them. If I want to train, I just take my gravel bike and I’m already there. It shows, you can always change your dreams. You begin to imagine yourself winning. Why not change my dream and go for something realistic for me? »

Related: Team Amani triumphs in the Migration Gravel Race and the Evolution Gravel

Kangangi finished second overall in the first Migration Gravel Race. Last June, he won Evolution Gravel, the Amani Project’s second stage race in its East African debut.

As well as pursuing his own career as a gravel professional, Kangangi has been dedicated to growing the sport in Kenya. He ran the Migration Gravel series, organizing events, clinics and school events in and around Nairobi.

The Vermont Overland is a 59 mile gravel course with 7,000 feet of vertical gain located in West Windsor, Vermont. About 900 cyclists took part in the event on Sunday. An outpouring of notes and messages filled social media in the wake of Kangangi’s death.

Rachel Ruto, wife of Kenya’s President-elect William Ruto, tweeted her condolences.

“My sincere condolences to his family and to the entire cycling community, who lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend,” she said. wrote. “We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya have lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule.

Related: Team Amani Makes US Debut at Leadville and SBT GRVL

A GoFundMe account has been created to support Kangangi’s family.

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