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Charles and Salim in the Pyrenees

Monday, Jun 7, 2021 in Pro Cycling

In a valley in the middle of the mountains, a few kilometres from the Spanish border, in a village of 79 inhabitants among donkeys and horses, there is a small house where the telephone lines are glowing and professional cycling is organised. Salim and Charles were guests of the three Caubin brothers to prepare for the Route d'Occitanie, in our opinion the most beautiful cycling race in France.

The mountains have names that cyclists like to name their children after

Avajan, this small village may be known to only a few, it is located on the country road to Loudenvielle. However, the names of the mountain passes around it could hardly be more resonant: Aspin, Tourmalet, Azet, Peyresourde, Portet, to name just a few. Every year, the Tour de France passes by here on one route or another, thousands of cycling tourists leave their sweat on the roads. 

A Family Affair

The three brothers Romain, Mathieu and Anthony live in this small village. The twins Mathieu and Romain work for the Tour de France organiser ASO all year round, usually on the road or in Paris.  Anthony, the third of the group, also lives in Paris for work. The three brothers have already seen the world, worked in Africa and South America. Whenever there is time, they meet at home, in the small house in Avajan. 

When it's all about passion

But when they have holidays, there is no rest at all. In their "free time" they organise the Route d'Occitanie with all their devotion. A stage race in the Pyrenees, a last preparation race for the Tour de France. The biggest teams and names are at the start every year. Her father Pierre Caubin is president of the race, the whole family is involved. 

Bernal or Kagimu?

Our team BIKE AID has the great privilege to be invited to this race. A tough race, no flat stages, only high mountain passes and winners like Bernal, Valverde or Quintana. Anyone who can keep up here has the potential to become a professional athlete. For our Africans, the race is therefore a tough challenge, but it shows where they stand and what still needs to be developed.

Our two athletes Charles Kagimu and Salim Kipkemboi set off in advance for the south of France, 1,200km away from Blieskastel. They were allowed to stay with the Caubin family for a few days and thus already ride some sections of the upcoming stages. 

Hospitality of a great family 

"We were moved by the fact that Charles and Salim were allowed to stay with the Caubin brothers for a few days and received such a warm welcome. But when you get to know the family a little better, you know why they do it. As with our team, the passion for cycling is in the foreground here, the joy and dedication to the cause," says Matthias Schnapka, who accompanied the two.