Ineos Grenadiers have teamed up with Eliud Kipchoge to launch a cycling academy in the marathon runner's native Kenya, with the aim of helping to develop African cycling.
Kipchoge famously partnered with the Ineos organisation to become the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in 2019, which, despite not counting for an official world record - held by Kipchoge himself - represented a major breakthrough.
Now, the Kenyan is expanding his training centre in Kaptagat to include a cycling academy, using Ineos Grenadiers' resources and expertise to bring through a new generation of riders.
"This is a significant and exciting development in world cycling - it has the power to drive lasting change by developing new riders from Africa," said Ineos Grenadiers manager Dave Brailsford.
"We all know the talent is there – we’ve seen it this year with Biniam Girmay’s history-making successes at the Giro d’Italia and Gent-Wevelgem, and I saw it first-hand in the inspiring young athletes I met in Kaptagat.
"Their passion, dedication and love of sport is a perfect fit with the Ineos Grenadiers’ spirit of giving it all to race and be your best. Together I believe we can achieve something unique and important for cycling in Kenya, Africa, and the sport itself.”
The academy will be run by Valentijn Trouw, a Dutchman with a background in athlete management and a long-time partner of Kipchoge's. Existing staff at Kipchoge's training centre will also be part of the project, which is said to have the collaboration of the Kenyan Cycling Federation.
"We work with the great potential of east African long-distance runners for over 30 years, and I believe the exceptional local endurance talent combined with the great training environment at Kaptagat will be perfect for developing quality cyclists," said Trouw.
"Working together with Sir Dave Brailsford, the Ineos Grenadiers Cycling Team and tapping into the broader Ineos sporting family will bring us the world’s best practice in competitive cycling.”
Kenya does not have a rich history in professional cycling, with no full-time professionals in 2022. Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome was born in Kenya but moved to South Africa as a teenager and races as a British rider.
The Qhubeka team was set up as a driving force for African cycling and achieved a number of breakthroughs – including Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus becoming the first Black Africans to race the Tour de France – but stopped as a professional team last year.
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