Fitness technology company Wahoo has partnered with Team Amani, an organisation aiming to make cycling more inclusive.
The two organisations will provide one Ugandan and three Kenyan athletes an opportunity to race premier gravel events, including SBT GRVL, Gravel Worlds, and Vermont Overland in the United States later this month.
The four athletes heading to the US are Sule Kangangi, John Kariuki, Nancy Akinyi from Kenya and Jordan Schleck from Uganda.
Following these races, Wahoo will release a documentary on Team Amani and the American Gravel race series in October 2022.
Mikel Delagrange of Team Amani said: “While cycling crowns World and Olympic champions, nearly all have come from Western Europe and North America. In order to create a sport with more opportunity and representation, we want to make sure that the exceptional riders from this currently underrepresented region get the chance to compete against the best in the world.
“These four athletes faced a year-long delay due to unforeseen visa challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, but they’ve been training harder than ever and are ready for the chance to prove themselves. We’re proud to be able to give them that chance through the ‘Fursa’ programme.”
The partnership titled, ‘Fursa’ meaning ‘Opportunity’ in Swahili, intends to give athletes equal opportunity in cycling.
Fursa Presented by Wahoo kicked off in 2021 with Kenya’s Migration Gravel Race, the first global gravel race held in East Africa. Team Amani conceptualized this event, which gave athletes from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda access to high-level international competition on their home turf.
Neal Henderson, head of Wahoo Sports Science, said: “It’s an honour for our team to be able to assist these athletes in their journey to these premier gravel events.
“We have been there through it all – from helping to train athletes ahead of the Migration Gravel Race, to continuing to provide expert insights and recommendations in the 15 months since. It’s been an opportunity for our team to show the value in sports science, all while helping four athletes reach their full potential. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish from here.”
Team Amani collaborated with the Wahoo Sports Science team to ensure each athlete had advanced preparation ahead of the event. Wahoo’s team had athletes perform a series of fitness/performance-related tests using the Sufferfest (now Wahoo X) software on their respective Wahoo KICKRs.
From there, Wahoo specialists met with each country’s coaches to help provide personalised training guidance and recommendations going into the Mitigation Gravel Race. Following that race, the top-four athletes were selected to take their talents to the next level.
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Wahoo’s Ian Boswell, winner of the 2021 UnBound 200, travelled 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 provided incredibly tough physical and technical challenges, but also fierce competition from riders who have faced many challenges, but who still raced at the highest level. I’m incredibly excited to see how these four riders stack up against bigger fields here in the United States.”
The events kick off with SBT GRVL on August 14, followed by Gravel Worlds (19th-20th August) and Vermont Overland (27th August).