[Eritrean national champ debuts at Tour de France on a single speed bike with a purpose
When stage 16 of the Tour de France gets going later today, Soudal Quick-Step’s Michael Mørkøv will be the first man to officially fly down the start ramp and onto the time trial course.
However, before the Danish rider gets his time trial underway, a very special guest at the Tour will have ridden his own race against the clock as part of another unique challenge.
Awet Aman, the recently crowned Eritrean national road race champion, will be the first rider down the start ramp in Passy on Tuesday morning. Aman is currently training in the local region with the UCI’s World Cycling Centre team and will ride the 22 kilometre time trial on a single speed Qhubeka bike as part of “Qhubeka Day” at this year’s Tour.
Qhubeka’s founder Anthony Fitzhenry said: “We are very excited about Qhubeka Day and hope that fans of Le Tour de France will support Awet’s challenge by making donations to help us here at Qhubeka to continue to change lives with bicycles.
“We are proud to have held a distribution of over 800 bicycles to children in Eritrea a few years ago, and we wish Awet the best of luck with this ride.”
Qhubeka is a South African-based charity which donates bikes to schoolchildren and key workers across South Africa and other southern African countries.
The charity has partnered with the French Grand Tour since 2018, and the “Qhubeka Day” campaign is part of an ongoing movement to spread awareness of the charity and to encourage more donations in order to help the organisation with their mission of changing children’s lives with bicycles in Africa.
18 July has also been chosen as the date to celebrate the Tour’s partnership with the charity due to it being recognised as ‘Mandela Day’ – a UNESCO international day – which celebrates the birthday of Nelson Mandela.
As well as showcasing Qhuebeka’s work and spreading the message on the ground at the stage 16 time trial, global online fitness platform Zwift has also become involved with the day and will be running multiple “Qhubeka Day” races online.
The virtual races will enable riders to race one another over the course on single speed Qhubeka bicycles – similar to Aman’s – which have been built into the game exclusively for these events on “Qhubeka Day”.
In order to access the races on the online platform, participants will be asked to make a donation to support the work of Qhubeka.
Zwift’s Ride On ‘thumbs up’ graphic will also be replaced with Qhubeka’s open hand logo for the day, which the charity uses to symbolise their strategy to ‘give a hand up not a hand out’.