The Afghan riders who escaped the Taliban joined Israel – Premier Tech for the last training session before the start of the Giro
Simon Clarke: “Your courageous story will be our inspiration.”
They endured an arduous journey to reach freedom (and ride their bikes) and today one of their dreams came true: riding with the pros as they prepare for the Giro d’Italia.
Eight male and female Afghan cyclists who were part of a group of refugees rescued from Kabul by Israel – Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams, the IsraAID organization, the UCI and others, joined the Israeli team for their final training before tomorrow’s start of the Giro d’Italia.
And they couldn’t believe it.
“It’s something beyond our imagination, meeting and riding with you,” said Rohullah Ahmadi (24) to the IPT riders after telling them about the group’s escape and new lives as refugees in Italy. “We will follow and support you and you will be our inspiration in our quest to restart our careers as cyclists.” Ruchi (his nickname) was an English teacher in Afghanistan and a member of his national team. He will now study at a university and pursue his passion as a cyclist.
Basira Sediqi (23) was riding for the Afghan national team but knew that riding a bike would be impossible if she stayed under the rule of the Taliban. “I had to leave. It was tough, but now I have a new life and I’m able to ride again.”
Their stories left a deep impression on the Israeli team’s riders, and it was Australian Simon Clarke who addressed them, saying “You said that we inspire you, but really, your courageous story will inspire us in this Giro.”
He continued, explaining that “they have endured so much suffering in their journey to escape and adjust to a new life. Through it was their desire and passion for the sport of cycling. This should set an example for all of us.”