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‘Gaping holes are left when giants fall' - Sule Kangangi dies after Vermont crash

ALMUZAHMIYA SAUDI ARABIA FEBRUARY 07 Start Suleiman Kangangi of Kenya and Team Bike AID during the 1st Saudi Tour 2020 Stage 4 a 137km stage from Wadi Namar Park to Al Muzahimiya King Saud University SaudiTour on February 07 2020 in AlMuzahmiya Saudi Arabia Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
Sule Kangangi racing on the road with Team Bike AID at the Saudi Tour in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Sule Kangangi died after a crash at The Overland gravel race in Vermont on Saturday, where the Kenyan cyclist was in the final leg of a racing block in the United States with Team AMANI.

“We are completely heartbroken by the tragic death of Suleiman “Sule” Kangangi during The Overland yesterday,” said race organisers in a statement on Instagram. ”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.” 

The 33-year-old was the captain of Team AMANI – a non-profit organisation that promotes inclusivity in cycling and creates opportunities for riders based in Africa – as it undertook the block of gravel racing in the United States. 

Kangangi, who had raced on the road for many years before turning his focus to gravel and off road events, started his US racing with the Leadville Trail 100 MTB on August 13 before joining his teammates – John Kariuki and Nancy Akinyi of Kenya and Jordan Schleck of Uganda – for SBT GRVL in Colorado on August 14, Gravel Worlds in Nebraska on August 20 and The Overland, which took place on Saturday August 27.

“Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also a father, husband and son,” said Team AMANI on Instagram. “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.

“Pumzika kwa amani Sule, you shall always be with us.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up with organisers saying the memorial fund will be dedicated to supporting Sule’s wife and children.

“Sule Kangangi was not only the Captain of Team AMANI but also a leader in African cycling,” said the page. “His dream of bringing East African cycling to the world was becoming a concrete reality these last few weeks as he had the opportunity to race in the US for the first time.”

“After the final race of this inaugural US visit, when the team should have been celebrating John Kariuki's win and Jordan Schleck's 3rd place, we find ourselves in mourning, grappling with the huge loss of a great cyclist and tremendous human being.” 

All of the Cyclingnews team extends deepest sympathies to Kangangi’s family, friends and teammates.

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Production editor

Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.