The international cycling body (UCI) and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) have joined forces to develop cycling on the African continent in the lead up to the 2025 UCI Road World Championship to be held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland as part of the African Day celebrations to ensure that African countries are well represented with strong podium chances at the UCI’s flagship event being held for the first time on the African continent in 2025.
The signature came at the end of fruitful discussions between UCI President David Lappartient, UCI Director General Amina Lanaya, the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) ad interim Director Jacques Landry, ANOCA President Mustapha Berraf and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Chief of Development of Sport in Africa Yassine Yousfi.
The aim of the MoU is to ensure that African countries are well presented with strong podium chances at the UCI’s flagship event being held for the first time on the African continent in 2025.
The parties agreed on a UCI Cycling Development Strategy supporting African athletes so they can be competitive by 2025, notably in the Junior and Under 23 categories.
The strategy begins this year with the identification of athletes from African countries to be chosen for a training camp at the UCI WCC Satellite in Paarl, South Africa.
Selected athletes will then be able to train at the UCI WCC in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe where they will gain appropriate race experience over the next three years.
It is envisaged that some 30 athletes (male and female) will be targeted through the UCI WCC’s established physiological testing, results at international races and recommendations from UCI certified coaches and the Director of the UCI WCC Satellite in Paarl, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl.
The UCI WCC – the UCI’s education and training arm – has already launched the careers of some incredible African athletes, for example Eritreans Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Natnael Berhane and Biniam Girmay, and of course Chris Froome, who spent his first months in Europe at the UCI WCC after arriving from Kenya back in 2007.
Several of the UCI WCC’s female trainee athletes from Africa have also gone on to sign contracts with professional teams.
UCI President David Lappartient declared: “When I stated in my Agenda 2022 that I wanted to take the UCI Road World Championships to Africa for the first time, it was part of a wider vision to strengthen our development work on the continent. I am incredibly excited to work alongside the ANOCA to ensure that African athletes will be forced to be reckoned with in Kigali in three years’ time.”
“The continent is teeming with talent, and we will make sure that the whole world will witness that at the 2025 UCI Road World Championships and beyond.”
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