Christof KoepselGetty Images
- Age: 32
- Nationality: French and Guadeloupean
- Team: B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
- Specialty: Sprinting
French cyclist Kévin Reza has spent ten years in the pro peloton and is a true veteran of the sport. His name might not ring a bell for many cycling enthusiasts, especially in the United States, but his presence in the pro peloton is nonetheless noteworthy—Reza is the only Black cyclist in the Tour de France this year.
Despite the continued diversification of the sport of cycling, that fact alone shows that we still have a long way to go. In a recent issue of Bicycling, Reza detailed two instances when racial slurs were directed at him in the peloton.
This year marks Reza’s third time riding in the Tour de France. The previous two times, Reza competed alongside teammate and fellow Guadeloupean Yohann Gène, who was the first Black cyclist ever to compete in the Tour de France in 2011.
Early Accomplishments and Going Pro
Reza, whose parents are both from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, was born and raised in Versailles just outside of Paris. He got an early start riding a bike at four years old, thanks to his father, who’s an avid cyclist. He attended the CSM Puteaux cycling school as a kid (his three siblings also attended cycling school when they were young) and quickly showed promise. Reza went on to become the French National Champion in his category (“poussin,” which translates to “chick”) twice, at 7 and 8 years old.
Reza’s family moved out of the city to the Vendée department in the Pays de la Loire region, where he still lives. There, he attended the sports school Notre-Dame du Roc before joining the development cycling team Vendée U. In 2010, Reza, then 22 years old, rode as a “stagiaire” for the professional level of the team, Bbox Bouygues Telecom.
In 2011, Reza signed his first pro contract with Team Europcar (which was essentially the former Bbox Bouygues Telecom team) and was with them for four seasons. Since then, Reza signed with team FDJ for three years before joining his current team, B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, in 2018.
A highlight of his early accomplishments includes placing third in the road race at the French National Championships in 2014. He’s also been a successful track cyclist, winning the scratch race at the French National Championships in 2015.
In his ten years as a pro cyclist, Reza has competed in six Grand Tours, including this year’s Tour de France. This is his third time at the Tour; he placed 73rd overall in 2014 and 134th in ’13. Despite those rankings, Reza made a splash at his debut Tour de France during Stage 5 when he and one other rider held off the peloton in a breakaway that lasted over 220K, getting caught only 5K from the finish.
Reza plays the supporting role of “domestique” within his team, mentoring younger riders and using his sprinting ability to lead out team leaders during final sprints. He hasn’t won any road races as a pro cyclist—yet. But he’s come close quite a few times, grabbing second or third place in numerous stages and races over the years.
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