Everyday racism: Breaking cycling’s other glass ceiling

Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea at the 2015 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Why are Black riders so under-represented in the pro peloton?

Major Taylor was the first African American to win a cycling world title and the second Black athlete to be crowned world champion in any sport way back in 1899. While the world has supposedly become more progressive since then and most major league sports have become more diverse – the NBA and NFL are majority Black players – road cycling has remained very, very white. Why?

As the world reflects on race, societal power structures, and attitudes that perpetuate bigotry and racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, the insular world of professional cycling can no longer ignore the issues at hand.

There has been a steady influx of South and Central Americans, Asians, Africans and Middle Easterners in the professional peloton, but there are only five Black riders in the WorldTour and five in the Pro Continental ranks – none American – and the number has decreased in recent years.

Though you can argue the development structures are not as well established in those nations, the same cannot be said for the so called ‘land of opportunity’. And yet, there are no African American riders in any of the seven US Continental teams and none on any ProTeam, WorldTeam or Women’s WorldTeam.

Read more on: CyclingNews