Tour d’Afrique Off and Running!

The 2009 edition of the Tour d’Afrique got underway last Sunday, with cyclists setting out from Cairo, Egypt on a 7317 mile long race to Cape Town, South Africa. In between they’ll pass through the Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia, fostering international goodwill along the way, while raising funds for environmental protection and promoting cycling in Africa.

The race is broken down into 96 stages of various lengths, with a typical day getting underway at 7:30 AM, when the top riders start out on the course. They are soon followed by another group who may not be contending for the top spot, but still want to complete every mile, while the “Back Pack” is made up of a group of riders who just want to enjoy the adventure and soak up some of the culture of the countries they are passing through.

This is the seventh year that the race has been run, and the web coverage seems to be the best ever. For instance, there are photos from each stage, videos from the various countries and introductions for some of the riders, and a daily blog with results and news from the course.

With six stages done, the riders have more than three months of riding ahead of them through a variety of climates and terrains before reaching their final destination on May 9th. They’ll struggle through the Sahara Desert, roll across the Equator, and race across an endless savannah, and they each payed more than $10,000 for the privledge. Seems like it’s an adventure worth every penny.