Africa has been known for producing great runners, but no black African cyclist has ever raced in the Tour de France. In fact, no black African has ever been a professional cyclist. That may change soon. The Guardian reports that cyclists from Kenya are hoping to be the first from their country to race professionaly.
Last month two amateur Kenyan cyclists, Zakayo Nderi, a shoe-shiner by trade, and Samwel Myangi, a 24-year-old bicycle taxi rider, performed a time trial on the Alpe D'Huez, a blue chip Tour stage finish. This is a serious test: 13.8km at an average gradient of 7.9% with 21 hairpin bends.
Zakayo and Myangi rode in a traditional Thursday morning mass time-trial. After a hugely promising 46-minute opening stab, they emerged with best times of 42 minutes for Zackary and 43 minutes for Myangi. These would have placed the riders comfortably within the top 50 in the 2004 Tour de France time trial, five minutes down on Lance Armstrong's winning mark that year.