Israel-Premier Tech have unveiled a special edition Tour de France kit alongside a new fundraising campaign to support the youth of Rwanda.
The kit is designed to promote the charitable campaign. The squad said the design, by Stijn Dossche, was intended to celebrate “the colours of the rich soil and lush greenery that brightens the landscape of the ‘land of a thousand hills’, and features the Rwandan art form, Imigongo, as the hero of the jersey design”.
As part of the campaign the team are calling on cycling fans to donate to help build a cycling centre, the “Field of Dreams”, in Rwanda.
Plans for the centre include a pump track, race track and future cycling academy across 16 acres of land in Bugesera, Rwanda. The aim of the completed complex will be to develop and encourage young cycling talent between the ages of six and 18 by providing opportunities to access the sport.
Four-time Tour de France champion and Israel-Premier Tech rider Chris Froome showed said: “For me, growing up in Kenya, the bike was always about freedom. It was my way of getting around, my transport. The bike was my opportunity to experience the world around me.”
He added: “We didn’t have pump tracks, velodromes, or anything like that. Growing up and experiencing cycling in that way, with no real infrastructure or support for youngsters growing up, has really made me want to get behind a project like this."
As well as building the centre, Israel-Premier Tech also plans on establishing a cycling academy to train bike mechanics, coaches and guides- empowering the next generation to excel and develop new skills.
AN ENGINE OF CHANGE
The team said that the centre marks the second step in the "Racing for change" project that Israel-Premier Tech launched last year. This involved “adopting” the only women’s cycling team in Rwanda and starting up a social riding program for young people in the area.
Israel-Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams said: “What better way to unveil this ambitious campaign than at the most important event on our cycling calendar, the Tour de France where we can unite all cycling fans to get behind the wonderful Rwandan youth who deserve it so much.”
The local mayor in Bugesera, Richard Mutabazi, is said he expects the scheme “will drive economic and social progress”. The district consists of 566 villages home to half a million residents. Many of the villages are connected by roads that would benefit from an increase in the local cycling infrastructure.
“This unprecedented initiative promises to have a huge effect on the new generation of Bugesera and possibly all of Rwanda, well beyond cycling,” said Mutabazi.
A CALL TO ACTION TO THE GLOBAL CYCLING COMMUNITY
Riders and staff on the Israel-Premier Tech have already made donations.
The team said they would match every donation to the ‘Field of Dreams’ project, by the public.
There are also prizes up for grabs for those donating including a limited-edition Tour de France jersey and a custom painted Factor bike.
The cost of the first phase of building the "Field of Dreams" centre will be €300,000. Donations beyond this amount will help provide more bikes for the local community, enable maintenance and the development of a future cycling academy.
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