'I just kept on fighting until they burned me out in the legs' - Ugandan cycling’s great hope on his World Championships debut

Kamya Richard of Masaka Cycling Club opens up on his journey from racing in Kampala to the Glasgow Worlds

Kamya Richard with his Cervelo time trial bike
(Image credit: Ross Burrage / Masaka Cycling Club)

Sometimes in sport, the best lessons don’t come from finishing on the top step of the podium, but from finding yourself the underdog: there in the heat of competition but not quite having enough to overcome your rivals and revel in the glory of a medal winning ride.

The junior ranks of cycling are no exception, something 18-year-old Ugandan Kamya Richard found out during his World Championship debut in Glasgow last weekend.

Richard, who rides in Uganda for the Masaka cycling club, travelled to Glasgow to make his first Worlds appearance with one of Masaka's patrons Ross Burrage.

After missing an early move that split the main field in the race, Richard was pulled from the action having lost time on the leaders, but as he tells Cycling Weekly, he now knows what he needs to do in order to follow in the footsteps of African WorldTour stars like Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay in the years ahead.

"Even just starting out riding in the bunch was just very amazing for me," he told Cycling Weekly.

"Every rider was there fighting for position and for me, I just ended up looking on and going to the back. I didn't get a chance to get in front of the peloton as it was very, very difficult for me. The other guys were just so much faster," he said, adding that the experience was "fantastic" and one which he "learned so much" from.

“Most of my life back in Uganda, I thought that I was the best junior rider, but last Saturday I soon realised who the best juniors are in the world.”

“In Uganda when we've been watching the Tour de France, we think 'ahhh we can go with those guys. They are not much better than us,' but here only the juniors go and show me what I'm missing,” he adds with the biggest smile in Scotland, clearly full of gratitude for just having the chance to test himself against his peers.

A surprise phone call 

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