A Rwandan man gets on his bike, meets a professional cyclist on his ride, swaps bikes with him, and then promptly drops his new friend.
That is the very succinct story of a video that brings you back to what cycling is really all about.
Enter Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux rider Rein Taaramäe. You know him. He is one of only a handful of Estonian WorldTour riders, winner of two Giro d’Italia stages 10 years apart. Well, he’s currently at an altitude camp in Rwanda as he builds up for the 2022 Giro.
This is already the second time this year Taaramäe has decamped to Rwanda for altitude training, beginning 2022 with four weeks alone in the African country before the start of his season. According to Cyclingnews, Taaramaë called it “the best training camp experience in my 15-year pro career.” Certainly more interesting than hanging out on the lonely volcano many pros use for altitude camps.
Clearly, he is a man who likes to do things a little differently. When Taaramäe came across a local on a bike during one of his training rides, he swapped machines with him. After remounting, Taaramäe pointed forward. “Let’s go”.
The pace began to increase, Taaramäe gritting his teeth, both riders still neck and neck before the WorldTour pro dropped. He sat up and looked at the camera, waving his hand across his neck. He was done. A moment that could ignite a small glimmer of hope in the hearts of all amateurs.
People will be quick to point to the difference in material making this outcome possible, but look closer and the Rwandan man has beaten the two-time Giro stage winner while wearing a pair of flip flops.
We have a lot of time for these pros vs regular folk match-ups, like this one of Philippe Gilbert vs a postman. You can keep your Scheldeprijs and Circuit Cycliste Sarthe. More of this sort of stuff, please.