Afghan cyclists ride during the International Day against drug and the week of National Mobilization Commemoration event in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2016.

The UCI and Sylvan Adams have helped 165 people evacuate from Afghanistan

The UCI, Israel Start-Up Nation co-owner Sylvan Adams, and others worked together to help evacuate people from Afghanistan.

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The UCI said on Monday that it had joined forces with Israel Start-Up Nation co-owner Sylvan Adams and several other people and organizations to help with the evacuation of a 165 Afghan citizens amid the Taliban’s return to power, which has left many people, including female cyclists, fearing for their safety and their lives.

According to the UCI’s statement, “a vast operation carried out in conjunction with Sylvan Adams, owner of the UCI WorldTeam Israel Start-Up Nation, the NGO IsraAID and also with help from various governments, the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) and FIFA” led to the evacuation of 125 people, “all of whom have been able to reach Europe via Tirana in Albania.” That group included “including female cyclists and members of cycling management, artists, a judge, a number of journalists and human rights campaigners”

All told, a total of 165 people “have been able to leave the country as part of the efforts of the UCI and its partners in the aftermath of the recent events.” Our friends over at VeloNews have more on the story of the challenging undertaking, which was reportedly “incredibly risky” for some of those involved.

The UCI said that 38 people have arrived in Switzerland and the organization – which is based in Aigle – is hoping that they will join the UCI World Cycling Centre there.

“It is very important for the UCI to make a commitment to the members of the cycling family who are suffering due to the current situation in Afghanistan, and I am delighted that our efforts in this respect are providing opportunities for the people concerned in decent living conditions,” UCI President David Lappartient said in a statement.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the governments of Switzerland, France, Canada, Albania, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and other countries which have worked on this project. I would also like to thank Mr Philippe Leuba, Head of the Department of the Economy, Innovation and Sport of the Canton of Vaud, who has been involved in the operation since the fall of Kabul and spent the whole of last week in Tirana in order to facilitate the practical and administrative procedures for their entry into Switzerland. I would also like to thank Mr Osama Ahmed Abdullah Al Shafar, UCI Vice-President and President of the Asian Cycling Confederation, for his decisive commitment to the operations that are currently under way, and of course IsraAID and its CEO Yotam Politzer, and Sylvan Adams who presented the project to IsraAID and financed the evacuation. I would also like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the Afghan cycling community, who worked under the aegis of our National Federation and of their President Fazli Ahmad Fazli to provide crucial help with the evacuations.”

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