While taking part in a gravel race in Vermont on Saturday, Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi was killed in a collision. He was 33. The incident occurred when Kangangi was participating in the Vermont Overland, a 59-mile dirt road bicycle race with approximately 7,000 feet of climbing.
His team AMANI, in a social media post, eulogized him and described Sule as a friend, captain, husband and father whose demise has left a big gap in the team. “Gaping holes are left when giant’s fall. Sule was a giant. “Instead of leading us at the front of the pack, he will now lead us as our guiding pole star as we press forward in the realization of his dream,” portions of the post reads.
The wife of Kenya’s president-elect, Rachel Ruto, wrote on Twitter that she was saddened to hear that Kangangi had died in an unfortunate accident.
“My heartfelt condolences to his family, and the entire cycling community, that has lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend,” she wrote. “We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya has lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule.”
Vermont Overland Race
According to the tournament’s website, the Vermont Overland is a 59-mile dirt road bicycle race with approximately 7,000 feet of elevation. The event, which starts and concludes in Brownsville in the municipality of West Windsor, attracted about 900 riders on Saturday, officials revealed.
Vermont Overland CEO Ansel Dickey in a statement cited by AP on Sunday said: “Vermont Overland is heartbroken by the tragic death of Suleiman ‘Sule’ Kangangi during The Overland yesterday,” adding that Kangangi “was a kind friend and an inspiring and heroic athlete to his teammates and the gravel cycling community at large. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, Team Amani, and the people of Kenya who are mourning his loss today.”
Kangangi used to ride on road courses but later switched to dirt tracks. During his visit to the U.S., he was expected to take part in three distinct gravel events.
He raced professionally with the African road team Bike Aid from 2016 to 2020, and in 2017, he was third at the prestigious Tour du Rwanda. Throughout his professional road racing career, Kangangi took part in competitions in a number of nations, including China, Australia, France, and Italy.
Kangangi had recently moved to gravel cycling, and the Migration Gravel Competition, a four-day stage race that made its debut in Kenya in 2021, had a significant influence on his career change. In the Maasai Mara of Kenya, the race drew professional riders like the Dutchman Laurens ten Dam and the American Ian Boswell to battle against young cyclists from East Africa on gravel.
“I’ve always had a dream of going to the Tour de France,” Kangangi told VeloNews last year.
In the first Migration Gravel Race, Kangangi came in second overall. He won Evolution Gravel in June of last year, the Amani Project’s second stage race to make its debut in East Africa.
Kangangi was committed to developing the sport in Kenya in addition to advancing his own professional gravel career. He founded the Migration Gravel Series, holding lectures, workshops, and educational activities in and across Nairobi.