Local MTB rider fulfils his dying brother’s wish

2012-08-16 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG businessman Tinus Havinga has fulfilled his dying brother’s wish. He rode in a cycle race in Italy and unexpectedly qualified for the UCI World Cycling Tour 2012 (UWCT) final taking place in Pietermaritzburg from August 23 to 26.

He qualified at the penultimate qualifier event, the La Leggendaria Charly Gaul, held in Trento, Italy, last month, after missing the qualification cut at last year’s Umsunduzi Road Challenge.

Havinga (61), of Montrose, almost didn’t go to the race because his brother, Hennie, was diagnosed with chronic renal failure 10 weeks ago.

“The illness was picked up late and it was too late to do anything about it,” he said.

Havinga, principal executive of PSG Konsult Corporate, had initially decided to go to Italy before hearing the news on his brother’s health, but decided not to go to after finding out.

But Hennie talked him out of not participating.

“I told him I would rather cancel the thing and he said I must not do that. He was very instrumental in me not cancelling.”

Havinga left for Italy with his wife and dedicated the trip to his brother.

“It was an awesome experience.”

He said one of the aims of the UCI World Cycling Tour was for amateur cyclists to experience other countries.

At the prize-giving ceremony, Havinga was presented with a medal, which also meant that he had qualified for the tour final in Pietermaritzburg.

This came as a surprise to the mountain biker.

“I just stood there amazed. I didn’t expect it …”

Hennie died a week after the race, but he did get to share his experience with his brother. “I e-mailed him pictures. He said, ‘I told you you would enjoy it.’ That was enough for me,” Havinga said.

He said he had hoped to bring the medal back home to his brother.

“It would have been nice if Hennie could watch the race [in PMB]. But you don’t always get what you want in life,” said Havinga, who had a close relationship with his brother.

For more information about the UCI World Cycling Tour, log on to www.uwctfinal.co.za.

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