Black African Professional Cycling Duo plan to make Road Racing history
Nicholas Leong, a supporter of the Major Taylor Association, a famous American black cycling champion of years ago, has started a project that he hopes will one day lead to the first black African professional cyclists to compete in road racing.
He has gone to a place in Kenya where all the marathon champions come from. It's called Eldoret which is situated 7000-8000 feet above sea level. Almost all the people there are slight in build and have amazing endurance. Nicholas has found a small number of cycling enthusiasts. Among them he have chosen the best two he could find. Their names are Zakayo Nderi and Samwel Mwangi, and they are going to Alpe d'Huez in August to do a timed ascent on that mountain.
Lance Armstrong holds the record up this mountain, and all the greats have times up the mountain. They want to see if they can do this drug-free, and if they can
benchmark it against some of those known times. In 2004, out of 155 riders, Lance Armstrong won it in 39’41” and the tenth placed time was 42’08”. Zakayo and Mwangi intend to finish in a time somewhere between those two times.
This year's Tour de France goes up Alpe d'Huez, on July 23, and given
the recent crackdown on doping, they will see if the winning times up Alpe
d'Huez are slower, and if so, they like to see how close they can get to it.
From there, they hope to attract sponsors who might be willing to change
history by sponsoring the first cycling team ever with black Africans in it.
They will be at Alpe d'Huez in France August 1-18. Further information can be found on www.theafricancyclist.com
This is exciting news. The cycling world needs dynamic and inspiring competition. Beaulieu has just contacted Nicholas to see if he can kindly keep us posted with news, photos and videos. Let's all with them good luck in their venture.
+++ Update 7/8/08 Cycling Weekly, a British Cycling Magazine has now printed their story. The Cyclists are now going to make a Movie which will be released in 2009. Very exciting news indeed for them.
11/08/08 Update: Nick has reported back and said that they have 'just done a 43:35 time up the mountain. We hope to go faster on Thursday Aug.14".