Tour de Lunsar a significant boost to cycling in Sierra Leone

Tour de Lunsar is revolutionizing Sierra Leone's Cycling

By Magdalene S. Konneh

The upcoming Fundsmith Tour de Lunsar, which will take place from April 18th to 21st, will see cyclists from Sierra Leone and around the globe display their cycling skills.

Lunsar, a mining town, will witness an exciting racing atmosphere with spectators cheering on their favourite cyclists from the roadside.

As the cyclists take the challenging route, they will navigate through breathtaking landscapes, pushing themselves to their limits and showcasing their pedalling skills and endurance.

The Tour de Lunsar is not only a physical test but also a celebration of Sierra Leone’s beauty and diversity. From the lush green mountains to the vibrant markets and bustling towns, this race will allow participants and spectators to experience this incredible country’s rich culture and natural wonders.

This event has played a crucial role in keeping the sport of cycling alive in Sierra Leone, especially during political turmoil within the country’s governing body. When there were no competitions for cyclists, the Tour de Lunsar appeared as a redeeming feature.

Abdul Karim Kamara, also known as Stylish, the CEO and founder of Lunsar Cycling Club, initiated the tour. He introduced it at a local level, providing a platform for local cyclists to demonstrate their talents and compete for jerseys and other valuable prizes.

His efforts paid off when the tour started attracting international attention from cyclists in Europe, America, and other parts of Africa. Since then, the Tour de Lunsar has become a top-notch cycling event, significantly developing cycling in Sierra Leone.

Along with the tour, Kamara has also worked tirelessly to grow Lunsar Cycling. Despite having no cycling background, Kamara was inspired by the outside world and launched his team from his bicycle repair shop.

The shop has now expanded to a larger space and has become a hub for the community. Kamara stated, “Cycling has become a part of our culture, and we take great pleasure in racing. I have engaged many young people, especially girls, who have embraced the sport and even represented Sierra Leone in international competitions.”

Since starting the Village Bicycle Project, Kamara has been working to spread cycling to rural communities. This marked the beginning of their journey to teach young people how to ride, provide them with the necessary equipment, and train them to become competitive cyclists.

“This year, most cyclists in the Tour de Lunsar participated in the Village Bicycle Project. I am extremely proud of their progress, and my ultimate dream is to see them excel beyond this tour and compete in international events like the Tour de Rwanda.”

The tour is sponsored by Fundsmith, an investment management company based in London, founded by Terry Smith in 2010. Kamara revealed, “Tom Armstrong, one of the partners at Fundsmith, heard about our request for support during the cycling podcast I did last year with the SIS CEO and immediately stepped in to secure the future of the race”.

“We are thrilled that Fundsmith has committed to sponsoring the tour for 2024 and 2025.”

This year, the tour will feature a two-day race for women and a one-day race for boys and girls under 12, making it more inclusive. Additionally, AFRICAP Apparel and FAMBUL, businesses owned by Sierra Leoneans, will be sponsoring the green jersey for the junior race winner for the second consecutive year.

Zwift has also renewed its sponsorship for the men’s points jersey, the main sponsor for the blue jersey, and the women’s race.

The Tour de Lunsar is not just about developing young cyclists; it also serves as a project that enhances the reputation of the  community.

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