Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi died in a crash on Saturday while competing in a gravel race in Vermont.
Kangangi was riding at a 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 realization of his dream.”
Rachel Ruto, the wife of president-elect William Ruto of Kenya, posted on Twitter that she was shocked to learn the sad news that he had passed away after a tragic crash.
“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 (95-kilometer) dirt road bicycle race that includes nearly 7,000 feet (2,130 meters) of climbing, according to the race’s website. About 900 cyclists were competing on Saturday in the race that begins and ends in the community of Brownsville in the town of West Windsor, officials said.
“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.”