Afghan cyclist Rukhsar Habibzai will continue her dreams, despite being forced to leave her country as part of the mass evacuation after the Taliban took over Kabul city. The member of the Afghanistan women’s cycling team nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, has relocated to the US and will compete with the Twenty24 development team through 2023.
Habibzai evacuated Afghanistan out of the Kabul airport with a group of female cyclists when they narrowly escaped the twin explosions outside of the main airport’s Abbey Gate.
Habibzai was taken to Qatar, and then to a US military base in Germany, where she stayed for weeks before arriving at an immigration center in New Jersey.
‘I want to showcase the physical and mental strength of an Afghan woman to Afghanistan and to the whole world’, said Rukhsar Habibzai.
“We were able to communicate when she was in the military base in Germany after she got out of Kabul around the time the bomb happened and the main airport had closed,” said Nicola Cranmer owner of the Twenty24 Pro Cycling and development team, who has been in communication with the Afghanistan women’s cycling team during the previous years.
Habibzai will join Twenty24’s development program at early-season training camps ahead of the 2022 season. Although a schedule hasn’t been confirmed, she will compete on the road and in gravel events with the development team in 2022.