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Kenyan cyclist Suleiman Kangangi died after a crash at high speed during the Overland gravel race in the US state of Vermont on Saturday.
His Team Amani confirmed his death in a statement on Sunday, describing the 33-year-old cyclist as “our captain, friend, and brother.”
“He is also a father, husband and son. Gaping holes are left when giants fall. Sule was a giant,” read the statement.
It added: "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 realisation of his dream."
Ansel Dickey, the organizer of the 59-mile dirt road race that includes 7,000 feet of climbing, said Vermont Overland is “completely heartbroken” by Kangangi’s death. About 900 cyclists were competing on Saturday.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, Team Amani, and the people of Kenya," Dickey said in a statement.
Team Amani comprises riders from three East African countries including Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda.
Kangangi, who was born in Eldoret, finished third in the Tour du Rwanda in 2017, and later found success in gravel racing. He was active in growing cycling in Kenya and hosted clinics and school events around Nairobi.
Rachel Ruto, the wife to president-elect William Ruto, eulogized Kangangi as a "talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend."
"My heartfelt condolences to his family, and the entire cycling community, that has lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend. We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya has lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule," she said.
Oh noes, pole sana !