In Kenya, there is the town of Kaptagat, a place known in world athletics because it hosts the Great Rift Valley Sports Camp, the most important sports center in the country dedicated to athletics, where all the best distance and middle-distance runners in the world have trained, including Elijah Lagat, Moses Tanui, Brimin Kipruto and the famous Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s fastest man in the marathon. Today this locality, which is located at 2500 meters above sea level, has also become a center dedicated to cycling, thanks to the Ineos Grenadiers and the champion Eliud Kipchoge.
It was in 2018 when Eliud Kipchoge at the Berlin Marathon stopped the clock with a time of 2h01’39”, wrote a new world record that day and again he, in 2019, sponsored by Ineos, in Vienna has was the first man on earth to go there in less than two hours over a distance of 42.195 km Almost three years have passed since October 12, 2019, when thanks to 41 hares who helped him follow, Eliud completed the marathon distance in 1h59’40”, proving once again that Kenyans are the strongest of all over long distances. Thanks to Ineos Grenadiers and the Olympic marathon champion, in Kaptagat you can now also cycle and, around the athletics track the Academy of British Education is born. The Great Rift Valley Sports Camp is not only a center dedicated to high level training, but in Kenya it is the place that aims to recruit young people who approach the sport and who have the characteristics to become great champions .
Africa in cycling has proven to be strong and Biniam Girmay, the Eritrean from Intermarchè-Wanty Gobert, is the finest example of this new generation of Africans who beat the European champions on a bike. Girmay won the Ghent-Wevelgem this year, then at the Giro d’Italia he conquered a stage, becoming the first African of color to achieve such major successes.
Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya they are the masters of cross-country athletics and many have thought that if in these countries you can go fast on foot, with the right training and the right equipment, you can also go fast on a bicycle. In 2025, Africa will host the first cycling world championships and many dedicated cycling centers have sprung up across the continent. The Ineos Academy was born with the intention of finding new talents and getting them to run in the most important world competitions. Kenyans are strong and good and they have already shown it by winning in the most important competitions dedicated to cross-country athletics, now thanks to the support of Eliud Kipchoge and his center in Kaptagat, a new challenge has started, that of cycling, where all supporters and investors are convinced that Kenya will keep its promises.
Ineos number one Sir Jim Ratcliffe, after the official presentation of the project, he said: “There is such exciting talent, passion and sporting ambition in Africa and at Ineos we want to continue investing to help realize its maximum potential. I recently visited the Kaptagat facility in Kenya and I am convinced that this partnership can do something truly different and unique for cycling, as well as for young aspiring African athletes”.
The project is convincing and there is also something to say Sir Dave Brailsford, sports director at Ineos Grenadiers“This is a significant and exciting development in global cycling: it has the power to drive lasting change by developing new African cyclists. We all know the talent is there: we saw it this year with Biniam Girmay’s historic successes at the Giro d’Italia and Wevelgem, and I saw it firsthand in the young athletes I met in Kaptagat. Their passion, their dedication and their love of the sport correspond perfectly to the spirit of Ineos Grenadiers to give everything to run and give the best of themselves. Together I believe we can achieve something unique and significant for cycling in Kenya, Africa and for the sport itself”.
Eliud Kipchoge is delighted with this project and he is confident that Kenya will soon be able to show off in cycling as well. “I am proud of the expansion of our Kaptagat-based training ground from a purely sports training ground to a broader type of sports academy. The Ineos Eliud Kipchoge Cycling Academy is a very natural choice with great potential to enable our talented young cyclists to take the next steps towards the highest level of cycling”. Kenya currently has no World Tour riders yet and in Europe only 23-year-old Salim Kipkemboi has managed to race on the Spanish and French roads.
Africa wants to do well and become competitive in cycling and there is certainly no lack of projects and before the Ineos-Grenadiers other teams started to create cycling schools. The first was the Israel – Premier Tech that of Bugasera in Rwanda is in the process of creating a large center dedicated to cycling, where it will be possible to do track, BMX, mountain bike and road cycling. In Bugasera the first results have already arrived and Alin Uwera, 17, after the excellent results achieved in the last African Championships, is now considered the most promising cyclist on the continent and it seems that she will soon be able to come true. dream: to become a professional cyclist and race in Europe.
Here too Intermarché-Wanty Gobert wants to invest in African cycling and, thanks also to the keen eye of Biniam Girmay, its leaders have already started looking for talented riders in Eritrea.