The sudden death of Kenyan cyclist Suleiman "Sule" Kangangi has left the cycling community in shock. The 33-year-old was competing in the Vermont Overland race on Saturday when he crashed at high speed. His death has left many people devastated, with team Amani posting on social media that "gaping holes are left when giants fall." Rachel Ruto, the wife of president-elect William Ruto of Kenya, also took to Twitter to share her disbelief after hearing of Kangangi's death. The Vermont Overland is a 59-mile dirt road bicycle race that includes nearly 7,000 feet of climbing.
Sule Kangangi pictured with his team.
The statement posted by Team Amani reads, “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. 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.”
Kangangi and his team were in the United States to compete in a few gravel events there, including the Leadville Trail 100, SBT GRVL, Gravel Worlds, and Vermont Overland.
The news made waves big enough that even Kenyan Tour de France winner Chris Froome commented, stating that the news was heartbreaking.
Kangangi was one of around 900 cyclists competing that day, on the all-dirt track. The gravel cycling star leaves behind a legacy spanning from his continental success in road cycling to his transition into gravel cycling around 2017, with victories each year, including as recently as June when the rider won Evolution Gravel.
Sule Kangangi will be remembered as a talented rider with a bright future ahead of him, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.