Kenya in the Tour de France? eh qui!
With Tour organizer Christian Prudomme announcing he is open to wildcard teams for anywhere in the world, Kenyan may be a dark horse.
“If an Australian team knocks at the door, or a Columbian team, or a Kenyan team – we will look at that very closely, of course,” said Prudhomme.
Well, look who’s already pounding on the door — the Nairobi Cycling Club has plans to apply for a ProTeam license next year. “We are working around the clock,” said Robert Mwaura. “We are following the Pegasus model.”
While not generally known as a cycling powerhouse, even in Africa, Kenya is raring to go. The Mrengo Farasi squad — “winged horse” in Swahili — has big plans and giant aspirations. “Why not a Kenyan tour winner in ten years?” said Mwaura. I saw a boy in Nairobi on an old Gitane. He looked like Bernard Hinault. We are not joking of these things.”
While the Nairobi Cycling club has yet to put all the pieces in place, establish a budget and sign riders, spirits are sky high. “Mrengo Farasi will be a top team. A Sky or Leopard — maybe not as fast in the beginning. We will surprise people — I know five riders in Kenya who are better than Saur-Sojasun,” said Mwaura.
Monsieur Prudhomme, go to the front door. A gentleman in cycling gear from Nairobi is knocking.