The Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi died in a crash on Saturday while competing in a gravel race in Vermont. The 33-year-old was riding at high speed in the Vermont Overland race when he crashed.
“Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also a father, husband and son. Gaping holes are left when giant’s fall. Sule was a giant,” his team, Amani, posted on social media. “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.”
Rachel Ruto, wife of president-elect William Ruto of Kenya, posted on Twitter that she was shocked to learn of Kangangi’s death.
“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.”
The Vermont Overland is a 59-mile dirt road bicycle race that includes nearly 7,000 feet of climbing, according to the race’s website. About 900 cyclists were competing on Saturday.
“Vermont Overland is heartbroken by the tragic death of Suleiman ‘Sule’ Kangangi during the Overland yesterday,” Ansel Dickey, owner of Vermont Overland, said in a statement on Sunday. “He 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.”
Team Amani is formed of riders from Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. Kangangi 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.