Verdi (right) with Luthando
Verdi (far left) in France
Verdi with Mthunzi Mdwaba,
celebrating his Alpe D Huez achievement
Cape Town, May 3, 2012
The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy was deeply saddened to learn of the death of a former Academy rider, Verdi Farao. We will remember Verdi, not only for his many cycling achievements, but for his enthusiasm for the sport and its ability to change lives. One of the highlights of his career with the Academy was joining Velokhaya as a guest of Team CSC at the 2008. Read on for an interview we did with Verdi in 2008, a few weeks before he flew to France.
Profile – Verdi Farao – 2008
A resident of Paarl, the South African town in the heart of the Cape winelands, Verdi started cycling when he was 16 and now trains for at least 15 hours per week.
He finished fourth in the 2008 Western Province Road Cycling Championships and placed in the top 11 at the South African National Cycling Championships. This was a notable achievement as it is only his first year as an Elite rider and he was competing against more than 100 experienced cyclists.
Verdi’s ultimate goal is to become a professional cyclist and ride the big international races with the best of the best. His team coaches are very impressed with his incredible improvement this year. “It’s as if though he has turned over a new leaf – his attitude is professional and he just keeps improving on the bike.”
“Cycling is a sport that builds character,” Verdi says. “I’ve learned to be positive, to overcome challenges in my personal life and to work as a team with the other riders in my acsis team.”
Verdi has a burning desire to learn. He wants to become someone other young riders can look up to. “It is possible to have a positive image about yourself, no matter where you come from. I’ve learnt to listen and learn from people who have had a lot of experience in their lives, both on and off the bike.”
As he joins the other Life Cycling Academy (LCA) cyclists in France to promote the Velokhaya (www.velokhaya.com) campaign, Verdi is very excited about being at the 2008 Tour de France to watch and gain some experience from the pro riders. Verdi and the five other young cycling representatives will take part in a specially designed program that allows them experience the Tour firsthand. He will participate in the ceremonial team sign-in and line up with the race leaders at the start of Stage 18 and get the chance to ride some of the famous climbs of the Tour de France.
“It will be a great opportunity to watch and learn from the best and to bring that experience back to the other young cyclists at the Life Cycling Academy,” Verdi says.
“As a young boy raised in a poor community I have had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to ride races either because I couldn’t afford the right equipment or because I didn’t have the transport to get to the race. Now, here I am flying to France!”
Verdi is hoping to return to France again one day to fulfill his dream of cycling in the Tour de France, the world’s premier cycling event.
His other dream is to coach young talented cyclists, helping them to realize their dreams.