Fitness tech company Wahoo has teamed up with Team Amani, an organization aiming to make cycling more inclusive.
The two organizations will offer one Ugandan athlete and three Kenyan athletes the opportunity to compete in premier gravel events including SBT GRVL, Gravel Worlds and Vermont Overland in the USA later this month.
The four athletes heading to the United States are Sule Kangangi, John Kariuki, Nancy Akinyi from Kenya and Jordan Schleck from Uganda.
Following these races, Wahoo will release a documentary about Team Amani and the American Gravel racing series in October 2022.
Mikel Delagrange of Team Amani said: “While cycling crowns world and Olympic champions, almost all come from Western Europe and North America. In order to create a sport with more opportunity and representation, we want to ensure that exceptional riders from this currently underrepresented region have the chance to compete against the best in the world.
“These four athletes faced a year-long delay due to unforeseen visa issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but they have been training harder than ever and are ready for the chance to make their mark. We are proud to be able to give them this chance thanks to the “Fursa” program.
The partnership, titled “Fursa” which means “opportunity” in Swahili, aims to give athletes equal opportunities in cycling.
Fursa Presented by Wahoo kicked off in 2021 with the Kenya Migration Gravel Race, the world’s first gravel race held in East Africa. The Amani team conceptualized this event, which gave athletes from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda access to high-level international competitions on their home turf.
Neal Henderson, Wahoo Sports Science Manager, said, “It is an honor for our team to be able to help these athletes on their journey to these premier gravel events.
“We’ve been there through it all – from helping train athletes ahead of the Migration Gravel Race, to continuing to provide expert information and recommendations over the 15 months since. It was an opportunity for our team to show the value of sports science, while helping four athletes reach their full potential. We can’t wait to see what they will accomplish from here.
The Amani team worked with the Wahoo Sports Science team to ensure each athlete had advanced preparation prior to the event. The Wahoo team had athletes complete a series of fitness and performance related tests using Sufferfest (now Wahoo X) software on their respective Wahoo KICKRs.
From there, Wahoo specialists met with coaches from each country to help provide personalized training advice and recommendations ahead of the Mitigation Gravel Race. As a result of this race, the top four athletes were selected to take their talents to the next level.
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2021 UnBound 200 winner Ian Boswell of Wahoo traveled to Kenya for this race, finishing fourth. As Fursa Partnership Manager, Boswell said: “It was humbling to travel to Kenya and find a race that offered incredibly tough physical and technical challenges, but also fierce competition from riders. who faced many challenges, but still raced at the highest level. I’m incredibly excited to see how these four riders stack up against bigger fields here in the States.
Events will kick off with SBT GRVL on August 14, followed by Gravel Worlds (August 19-20) and Vermont Overland (August 27).