This year’s Tour de France winner, Kenyan-born British professional cyclist Christopher Froome has urged the Kenyan government to support upcoming cyclists, saying the country has huge potential in the sport.
“These young riders at the grass roots are quite able to beat professional riders but they have no support to enable them participate in international events,” said Froome.
Froome, who was recently crowned the Tour de France champion and won the black jersey, said Kenya basks in great cycling talent, only that the attention accorded to the sport may not be firm enough.
The 28-year-old old professional road racing cyclist who was born in Kenya and spent most of his childhood in the country, was in Eldoret and Iten Monday as part of a three-day tour of North Rift for a mentorship programme.
LEARNT AT BANDA SCHOOL
The alumnus of Nairobi’s Banda School said the country has what it takes to become a giant in cycling, adding that he chose to celebrate his Tour de France victory with upcoming cyclists from the area with whom he trained sometime back.
“There’s big talent in cycling in Kenya and the government should nurture it. I came here to meet my friends in Iten whom I trained with before I went to Britain,” said Froome.
Froome, a cyclist who claimed his first professional victory in 2007 at 22, noted that his recent victory should serve to encourage local cyclists at the grass roots to work hard and excel.
“It is very important for me to be back here where I trained so that my friends at the camp can feel supported and believe all is possible,” he added.
Sources close to the cyclist hinted that plans are in place for the construction of a training camp and facilities for cyclists in the region.
Kenya Amateur Cycling Association chairman, Julius Mwangi, said Kenyan cyclists should keenly follow in the footsteps of Froome to succeed.
Froome trained with Kenya Riders Club in Iten between 2006 and 2008 and moved to Britain where his coach Rod Ellingworth linked him up with team Great Britain.