The refugees, who arrived in Europe via Albania, will be resettled in several countries, with cyclists 38 being welcomed by the Switzerland government while others will head to Canada, France, Israel and the United States

Cycling’s world governing body UCI said it helped in the evacuation of 165 refugees from Afghanistan which included female cyclists, journalists and human rights campaigners whose lives were under threat if they stayed in the country.

UCI said they were a part of an operation that also included cycling team Israel Start-Up Nation’s owner Sylvan Adams, an NGO named IsraAID, various governments, the Asian cyclists Confederation and world football governing body Fifa.

The refugees, who arrived in Europe via Albania, will be resettled in several countries, with 38 being welcomed by the Switzerland government while others will head to Canada, France, Israel and the United States.

“It is very important for the UCI to make a commitment to the members of the cycling family who are suffering due to the current situation in Afghanistan,” UCI President David Lappartient said in a statement Monday.

“I am delighted that our efforts in this respect are providing opportunities, for the people concerned in decent living conditions.

It takes courage: Saudi Arabia’s women cyclists break norms

Samar Rahbini runs the “Courage” mixed-gender cycling club in the Red Sea city of Jeddah

For years, Samar Rahbini thought it would be “impossible” to cycle in the streets of conservative Saudi Arabia, where women’s sport was long frowned upon.

Now she runs the “Courage” mixed-gender cycling club in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, ignoring the raised eyebrows that persist despite the kingdom’s social reforms.

“I chose the name ‘Courage’ because what we are doing takes courage… to go out on the streets and practise in public and in crowded places,” she told AFP.

Still, Rahbini said the reactions have been vastly, more subdued than before 2017, when the crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman kicked off a drive for liberalisation.

“The situation before 2017 was very difficult. because of society’s reluctance to accept women in sport, especially cycling,” the 23-year-old told AFP.

She was wearing a black tracksuit, white jacket and a helmet, with her hair flowing underneath in the wind.

“Now, the large number of women who cycle on almost a daily basis. have made female cycling a familiar thing,” said Rahbini, whose club has hundreds of women members

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