Kenyan cyclist Suleiman Kangangi dies while racing in Vermont

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Suleiman Kangangi, a 33-year-old Kenyan cyclist, died on Saturday after a high-speed crash during the 59-mile Vermont Overland gravel road race, his team Amani said on Sunday.

“Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also father, husband and son,” the team said in a statement. “Gaping holes are left when giants fall. Sule was a giant. Instead of leading us to the front of the pack, he will now lead us as a guiding North Star as we move forward in achieving his dream.

Amani’s John Kariuki won Saturday’s race, which includes nearly 7,000 feet of climbing, and Amani’s Jordan Schleck finished third. The newly formed team is made up of runners from Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. The Amani team describes itself as a non-profit organization promoting inclusivity in cycling and creating opportunities for cyclists based in Africa.

Gravel races are usually held on open roads and combine road, cyclocross and mountain bike racing. Around 900 cyclists were taking part in the race on Saturday which begins and ends in the unincorporated community of Brownsville in the town of West Windsor.

“Vermont Overland is completely heartbroken,” race organizer Ansel Dickey said in a statement. “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.

Kangangi raced for the Bike Aid Professional Continental Team from 2016 to 2020, according to Bike News. He finished third overall in the 2017 Tour of Rwanda. He relaunched his cycling career with the Migration Gravel Race, a four-day event which debuted in Kenya in 2021. It featured international cyclists such as Ian Boswell and Laurens ten Dam alongside aspiring pros from East Africa running on gravel in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

“My sincere condolences to his family and to the entire cycling community, who lost a talented cyclist, mentor and friend,” said Rachel Ruto, wife of Kenya’s President-elect William Ruto. tweeted. “We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya have lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule.

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