Annemiek van Vleuten, reigning world champion and Tour de France Femmes winner, is spending her off-season on a cycling holiday in Kenya, visiting the lands of the Masai tribe whom she recently helped to raise money for.
The Dutch rider and multi-Grand Tour winner is in the African country to help support the charitable initiative started by her male teammate Carlos Verona, Bikes4Masai.
Van Vleuten has shared several pictures of her adventures so far with the local people on Instagram, and uploaded several rides she’s been on with Verona to Strava.
Verona started Bikes4Masai with his wife, Esther Casasola, with the aim of raising money to buy bicycles for young Masai people, who often live a significant distance from their nearest school. The charity’s aim is to enable children to have a chance at an education.
Van Vleuten isn’t new to getting involved with charitable work alongside her title winning exploits on the bike. She recently raised €17,000 for charity by auctioning off her old kit.
Proceeds were split between the Bikes4Masai scheme, and the Amy Pieters Foundation, which provides support to Van Vleuten’s former teammate who suffered a life-changing head injury at the start of the year.
Van Vleuten, who won the Tour de France Femmes, Giro d’Italia Donne, Vuelta Challenge and World Championship road race in 2022, put on the auction for the two charities at her local bike shop in the Netherlands.
Large numbers of people reportedly turned up for the auction, looking to get their hands on one of the Dutchwoman’s Movistar jerseys, or one from her Tour de France Femmes victory.
After raising the money, Van Vleuten said: “This is super cool. I’ve done this here before, but this is definitely the biggest turnout ever.”
On Verona’s Bikes4Masai scheme, she added: “They now sometimes have to walk 20 kilometers to school. We try to buy bicycles for them so that they do go to school.”
“It’s very nice that everyone is so generous. This makes me really happy.”
The owner of the bike shop, Roel Peerenboom, said that Van Vleuten’s auction brought a lively atmosphere to his store for the third year running.
“It is nice to see that someone is so popular and that you can convert the cycling gear, which no longer has much value to her, into money for a good cause,” he said .
“It’s great to see that so many people come to it, even though it’s not directly the potential target group for my store. These are real cycling fans and we sell bicycles other than high-end racing bicycles. But that does not alter the fact that this bustle in the business is always fun.”