As part of our focus on diversity in the pro peloton, Team Africa Rising correspondent, Jeremy Ford, caught up with Kévin Reza (32) of Team B&B Hotels – Vital Concept.
Kévin has been a professional cyclist for over ten years and made his debut at the Tour de France in 2013, 2020, represents his third participation.
Kévin’s parents were born in Guadeloupe, a French territory in the Caribbean. He was born in France and grew up in the suburbs of Paris. He then moved to the Vendée as a teenager to attend a sports academy and still lives there now, returning to Guadeloupe at once a year to maintain his roots and connections.
We caught up with Kévin here in Nice before the beginning of the second stage to talk about his hopes for the race and his views on diversity in the pro peloton.
The video clips below are in French; the transcript of each question and answer are below also:
Q: “Good to meet you, Kévin. Congratulations on making the team for the 2020 Tour. How are you feeling, and what are your hopes?
A: “My ambitions are clear: first of all, to enjoy myself and to get through this Tour de France without any mishap, no physical problems, no illness, and to arrive in Paris in one piece. And secondly, to be able to support the team (Team B&B Hotels – Vital Concept), to help the team succeed in the competition, and to support my leaders as much as possible, to try and help them win… help them have a successful Tour, and give them the best chance at every moment of every stage.”
Q: “As the only black rider in the Tour, what are your thoughts on the current state of diversity in cycling, and what else do you think needs to be done to encourage more People of Colour to take part in professional cycling?”
A: “It’s clear that it’s not easy for us to succeed in world cycling, but, well, there aren’t a million options open to us. Black people just have to push themselves to succeed and to excel at the highest level. To come to continental Europe and have as much fun as possible in amateur races, and, if they can, turn pro and make a living from their hobby. And I’d encourage them to be able to… to make sacrifices, to try and reach out and touch this magnificent dream, this profession which is hard, but magnificent. It makes no difference if you’re white or black. You see, I got my chance ten years ago, I turned pro on account of my abilities, not on account of the color of my skin because there were very few black riders in the profession. I’m proud of this now, sure, I’m about the only black person in the peloton, but I want to say that, well, you have to believe in your dreams, in your capabilities, and you mustn’t stop dreaming, you just have to believe in your ability.”
Many thanks for your time Kévin and we wish you all the best for the Tour.
If you want to support Kevin, please do follow him on social media on the below:
Facebook: Kévin REZA