Kenya-born Froome to tap into Africa's pool of talent

Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:57pm EST
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By Drazen Jorgic

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Tour de France winner Chris Froome plans to develop Africa cycling by focusing on Kenya's rich talent pool of endurance athletes, the Briton said on Tuesday.

Kenya-born Froome said Kenya's success in middle and long-distance running showed the east African nation was awash with gifted athletes capable of competing in the world's toughest endurance races.

"It seems that there is so much talent here," Froome told reporters in Nairobi as he sat next to Kenyan rider David Kinjah who was his childhood "mentor".

"You just have to look at the natural ability of runners to see that Kenya has a lot of talent but in cycling it's not going through, it's being stopped."

Froome won a medal for Kenya in the All Africa Games in 2007 but in 2008 switched allegiance to Britain after receiving little support from the Kenya Cycling Federation.

The 28-year-old said the same problems were now facing other Kenyan riders who seek help from the federation and Julius Mwangi, the organization's long-serving president.

"Any cyclist you speak to in Kenya can tell you about some kind of story with Julius Mwangi or Kenyan Cycling Federation which is basically stopping them from developing and I find that very sad," Froome said.

"That's one of the things that will have to change in Kenya for cycling to develop."   Continued...

Race leader's yellow jersey Team Sky rider Christopher Froome of Britain crosses the finish line to win the 242.5 km fifteenth stage of the centenary Tour de France cycling race from Givors to Mont Ventoux July 14, 2013. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier