Chris Froome hopes Tour de France win will inspire young Africans to take up cycling
Chris Froome hopes his Tour de France victory will inspire young Africans to take up cycling.
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 23/07/13 2:35pm
The Team Sky leader, who first began riding on dirt roads in Kenya, completed a remarkable rise up cycling's ranks by securing a maiden yellow jersey in Paris on Sunday night.
Only six years earlier, the 28-year-old Briton had been studying for an economics degree at the University of Johannesburg and was still an amateur.
An offer to ride in Europe led to a contract with Team Sky, the biggest team in the professional peloton, and he has since gone on to become the No 1 stage-race rider in the world.
Promoting the sport
His dominant triumph in the 100th edition of the Tour also followed on from South Africa's Daryl Impey becoming the first African to wear the maillot jaune, and Kenyan-born Froome is keen for their combined achievements to aid the development of cycling in impoverished nations.
"I think it is still early days, but there are things I would like to do to promote cycling in Africa, in under-developed countries," Froome said.
"This Tour in itself has been an amazing race in that respect, the fact that, for the very first time, we have seen an African in the yellow jersey with Daryl Impey, from South Africa. That is historic.
"I am sure that my performances, having been born in Kenya and schooled in South Africa, will give a lot of inspiration to youngsters there."
Froome abandoned his economics degree in 2007 after being given the opportunity to ride with the Konica Minolta team and a series of strong climbing performances saw him earn a contract with Barloworld.
Breaking new ground
An impressive display at his debut Tour, in 2008, prompted British coaches to sign him for Team Sky's inaugural season, in 2010, and he has since gone on to earn a leadership role within the squad.
It is a fairytale progression worthy of a Hollywood movie and Froome hopes his stunning progress will prove to African riders that they can follow a similar path.
"I would like my performances here to help inspire and motivate a lot of youngsters, especially young Africans who find it very hard to believe that they can get out of Africa and get on to the European scene, or make it into a pro peloton," he added.
"My experiences are an an example that if you really want to make something happen, you will find a way. You will make an opportunity yourself."