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VN ticker: Jan Bakelants retires, IPT builds pump track in Rwanda

Here's what's making headlines on Wednesday, December 28.

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Jan Bakelants retires at 36

Jan Bakelants confirmed his retirement at the end of this season.

The 36-year-old won a Tour de France stage among seven wins in his 14-year career.

“I am quitting professional cycling. It is now official and it is time to let everyone know,” he told Sporza. “It wasn’t an easy decision.

“I decided a while ago, but I continued to live like a pro until now. It’s time to finish this chapter,” he said after confirming that Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, which he joined in 2020, did not extend his contract.

“There were a lot of emotions involved,” he said. “I had a bad fall at the 2017 Lombardia, and I tried for a long time again to win another time. I am interested in perhaps working for a team in the future. The challenge of managing a team is an interesting one.”

Israel Premier Tech helps build pump track in Rwanda

A new BMX track opened recently in Rwanda.

Israel Premier Tech helped fund Rwanda’s first BMX-styled pump track that opened recently in Bugesera, Rwanda.

The effort is part of the team’s “Field of Dreams” cycling project in the African nation. The $250,000 pump track that was designed and constructed by the Swiss-based Velosolutions, with help from Israel Premier Tech, the local community and worldwide donors.

“We made sure that this particular pump track would be a source of joy and skill development for a wide range of youth,” said Velosolutions and Pump for Peace CEO Claudio Caluori. “It is beautiful pump track and none deserve it more than the youth of Bugesera. We may see some fast kids coming from there soon.”

The project continues with the development of a racing and training course.

The team plans to send bikes and trainers from Israel to Rwanda specifically to train both guides from the local community, team officials said.