'Sule was a giant': Kenyan gravel star Suleiman Kangangi dies at US race

The Kenyan was a pioneer of gravel racing in East Africa.

Sule Kangangi 2020
Kangangi at the 2020 Saudi Tour.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

33-year-old professional cyclist Suleiman “Sule” Kangangi has died at a gravel event in the United States. 

The Kenyan, considered as one of his country's greatest talents, was competing in the Vermont Overland race, where he reportedly suffered a fatal crash.

Kangangi’s team, Team Amani, wrote in a statement: “Sule Kangangi tragically lost his life yesterday after crashing at high speed during a race in Vermont.

“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.”

After discovering cycling in 2010, Kangangi went on to join continental team Bike Aid in 2017, placing third in that year’s edition of the Tour du Rwanda. 

A key figure in Kenya's gravel racing scene, Kangangi was a driving force in hosting the inaugural Migration Gravel Race in 2021, a four-stage event taking place in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Following the race's success, Kangangi spearheaded the Amani project, which seeks to create racing opportunities for young cyclists in East Africa. 

"Vermont Overland is heartbroken by the tragic death of Suleiman 'Sule' Kangangi", race owner Ansel Dickey said in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, Team Amani, and the people of Kenya who are mourning his loss today."

Rachel Ruto, wife of Kenya’s president-elect William Ruto, wrote on Twitter: “It is with shock that I have received the sad news that Sule Kangangi passed away after a tragic crash in the United States. My heartfelt condolences to his family, and the entire cycling community, that has lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend.

“We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya has lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule.”

Lachlan Morton (EF Education-EasyPost), who raced alongside Kangangi in gravel and mountain bike events, said he was “lost for words” upon hearing of Kangangi's passing. 

“Cycling has lost one of its best yesterday,” Morton wrote. “The world lost one of its best. I’m lost for words. We’re all going to miss you.” 

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) also paid tribute to Kangangi, describing the Kenyan's death as “heartbreaking”. 

“My thoughts are with Sule’s friends and family,” Froome added. 

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