Eritrean national champ debuts at Tour de France on a single speed bike with a purpose

Awet Aman, the Eritrean national road race champion, to ride stage 16 time trial route on single speed Qhubeka bike as part of ‘Qhubeka Day’ at French Grand Tour

Awet Aman
(Image credit: Ghideon Musa)

When stage 16 of the Tour de France gets going later today, Soudal Quick-Step’s Michael Mørkøv will be the first man to officially fly down the start ramp and onto the time trial course.

However, before the Danish rider gets his time trial underway, a very special guest at the Tour will have ridden his own race against the clock as part of another unique challenge.

Awet Aman, the recently crowned Eritrean national road race champion, will be the first rider down the start ramp in Passy on Tuesday morning. Aman is currently training in the local region with the UCI’s World Cycling Centre team and will ride the 22 kilometre time trial on a single speed Qhubeka bike as part of “Qhubeka Day” at this year’s Tour.

Qhubeka’s founder Anthony Fitzhenry said: “We are very excited about Qhubeka Day and hope that fans of Le Tour de France will support Awet’s challenge by making donations to help us here at Qhubeka to continue to change lives with bicycles.

"We are proud to have held a distribution of over 800 bicycles to children in Eritrea a few years ago, and we wish Awet the best of luck with this ride.”

Qhubeka is a South African-based charity which donates bikes to schoolchildren and key workers across South Africa and other southern African countries.

The charity has partnered with the French Grand Tour since 2018, and the “Qhubeka Day” campaign is part of an ongoing movement to spread awareness of the charity and to encourage more donations in order to help the organisation with their mission of changing children’s lives with bicycles in Africa.

18 July has also been chosen as the date to celebrate the Tour’s partnership with the charity due to it being recognised as ‘Mandela Day’ - a UNESCO international day - which celebrates the birthday of Nelson Mandela.

A group of schoolchidlren with Qhubeka bikes

(Image credit: Qhubeka)

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Tom Thewlis

Tom has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2022 and his news stories, rider interviews and features appear both online and in the magazine. 

Since joining the team, he has reported from some of professional cycling's biggest races and events including the Tour de France and the World Championships in Glasgow. He has also covered races elsewhere across the world. 

As well as on the ground reporting, Tom writes race reports from the men's and women's WorldTour and helps with coverage of UK domestic cycling.