At the Tour du Rwanda in spring, BIKE AID wins the team classification, taking 3rd and 5th place overall for Jesse Ewart and Henok Mulubrhan. Henok Mulubrhan, currently one of Africa's greatest talents, subsequently wins the African Championship and receives a contract in a Pro Continental team. After Mekseb Debesay and Dan Craven, he is the third African whom BIKE AID has helped on his way to the top.
Next, BIKE AID receives an invitation to the Tour of Turkey, a Pro Series race. Adne van Engelen and Dawit Yemane decisively shape the queen stage. Dawit finished seventh overall and BIKE AID took second place in the team classification, only 21sec behind, ahead of all the World Tour teams.
"We reached new heights with these results in the team rankings. They show the strength of our team across the board and the level at which we can compete. And of course we are proud of where these results have propelled us in the world rankings," says Matthias Schnapka.
Big races like Tro-Bro Léon, ZLM Tour or Route d'Occitanie followed. Every single invitation was a great honour for the team from Saarland. But wins were just missing. The bar was set high with eight UCI victories in the previous season, which made Team BIKE AID one of the most successful continental teams in the world.
However, drastic and tragic events followed. Team captain Nikodemus Holler crashed in Turkey. At first sight only slightly injured, he was then out for the whole season. Next, the team travelled to Tour of Sibiu with great ambitions. However, during a recon ride Jesse Ewart crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle and was flown home with serious injuries. Niko and Jesse are fine in general. Then the terrible news reached us that our friend and former teammate Sule Kangangi died in an accident.
"At such a moment, you question everything, of course, and especially the sense of competitive sports. But the reactions to Sule's death show how inspiring and motivating he was, both to children and young people in his home country and to people all over the world. It is difficult to find the right words. Is it possible to reconcile the sadness of Sule's death and the joy of Luca's success? Our riders tried it in their own way today by dedicating the victory to Sule and starting the race with a black ribbon.“ Matthias Schnapka concluded.