Kenyan cyclist Sule Kangangi (Team AMANI) died tragically in a high-speed crash Saturday while competing in the Vermont Overland gravel race in Vermont, USA.

Kangangi, 33, was a superstar of African cycling, representing Kenya on the road at the Tour of Rwanda, Commonwealth Games and All Africa Games multiple times, always beaming with his radiant infectious smile.

“Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also a father, husband and son. Gaping holes are left when giant’s fall. Sule was a giant,” his Team AMANI posted on social media. “Instead of leading us at the front of the pack, he will now lead us as our guiding pole star as we press forward in the realization of his dream.”

Fellow Kenyan cyclist and 4x Tour de France champion Chris Froome posted his condolences upon learning of the tragedy:

The specific circumstances leading to his crash and death are still under investigation, but Kangangi was “riding down a well-maintained, straight, downhill section of dirt and gravel, with good visibility,” according to Vermont Overland owner Ansel Dickey.

Dickey also offered his condolences:

“Vermont Overland is heartbroken by the tragic death of Suleiman ‘Sule’ Kangangi during The Overland yesterday. He was a kind friend and an inspiring and heroic athlete to his teammates and the gravel cycling community at large. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, Team Amani, and the people of Kenya who are mourning his loss today.”

Kangangi was captain of Team Amani, a 12-person gravel racing team of male and female cyclists from African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Team riders, including Kangangi, traveled to the USA this summer to compete in the Leadville Trail 100, SBT GRVL, Gravel Worlds, and Vermont Overland races.

The team is featured in a new 60-second video by Meta (Facebook’s parent company) showing Amani cyclists using Meta’s apps. Kangangi appears at 0:05 wearing a blue two-tone jersey.

A GoFundMe page has been setup to help support Kangangi‘s wife and children, with a goal of raising $40,000 USD. As of 31 August it had raised $66,823 from 758 donors.

The Vermont Overland is a 95-kilometer gravel road race that includes nearly 2,130 meters of climbing and descending. Approximately 900 cyclists were competing on Saturday in the race that starts and finishes in the town of West Windsor.

Photos: Team AMANI