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Date Posted: 06:53:41 01/21/03 Tue
Author Host/IP: 220.127.116.11
Subject: Re: The First Non S.African Africans (!) in Pro and European Cycling
In reply to:
's message, "Re: The First Non S.African Africans (!) in Pro and European Cycling" on 13:38:50 01/18/03 Sat
Don't know who u mean, soz. But i do have a good story on African riders in the euro races, situated even in 1950 in the Tour, no less!
As said above, in 1950, an Algerian participated in the Tour. They didn't really do anything worth mentioning, apart from this anecdote; it was a 35 degrees Celsius and the african team was feeling great, while european riders where being fried alive. Abdel Kader-Zaaf escaped together with fellow countryman Molines, and as it was a huge stage and the peleton was mainly busy with drinking all they could, they soon had a lead of over 20 minutes. Zaaf was about to make a huge leap in the ranking.
But at 20kms from the finish, he started slinging from one side of the road to the other, and eventually fell from his bike. Spectators laid him down to rest under a tree, where he fell asleep/uncounscious for several minutes. After waking up, the spectators put him on his bike again, and he started to ride once more, but in the wrong direction, he headed straight for the peleton! He finished that day in Nīmes in an ambulance, reeking of alcohol, and the story went around that he had drank a bottle of wine to quench his thirst.
Only later on would he reveal his side of the story (because he got a lot of publicity deals out of it); he had accepted a drinking bidon from a supporter and jugged it immedeately down, being that hot, and after that everything went cloudy before his eyes. According to him it had contained pure alcohol! And when he was lying against the tree a spectator had brought a bottle of wine to wake him up, and he boozed that one down for a large part as well! And as he was riding the wrong way, he fell into a ditch, drunk as can be, and an ambulance picked him up.
Abdel Kader-Zaaf deceased in 1986, at the age of 69, bless him. :)
P.S. Marcel Molines went on to win the stage, and is to this day, together with Moroccan Custodio Dos Reis, the only African stage winner in the TdF.
>I don't know about the very first African, but this
>year so far two riders have been announced - one is
>David Kinja from Kenya who signed with Index-Alexia,
>and there is another whose name I cannot recall at the
>>I would like to find out who was the first African
>>(excluding South Africa) to join a team and race
>>abroad professionally. Also, who is the most succesful
>>African pro of all time?
>>There are cycling hotbeds in all the continents (S.
>>Amercia - Colombia, N. America - US, Asia - Japan
>>getting into the swing of things et al), but Africa
>>(except S. Af) is quiet.
>>I know Seko (Kenyan?) was on the RDM-Flanders books in
>>2002, but I don't think he's found a team for this
>>season. There must be some.... so any info would be
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