Veteran cyclist to miss World Champs after brutal attack

2014-07-29 00:00

VETERAN Durban cyclist Vaughan Cronjé walked two kilometres with a punctured lung after he was attacked and stabbed as he prepared for the ­Cycling World Championships.

The brutal robbery on Sunday saw Cronjé of Westville sustain multiple stab wounds and 30 stitches for facial cuts alone, when he was confronted by five men while on a training ride.

He remains in a serious condition in Westville Hospital.

Riders have been warned to exercise caution as attacks on cyclists grow in frequency.

Cronjé’s specialised bicycle — worth over R50 000 — was stolen by the gang, who appear to have followed the star rider before they made their move.

The 60-year-old financial consultant has been forced to withdraw from the Cycling World Championships in Slovenia next month. He was due to compete in the veteran category, in which he was top ranked.

His daughter, Michelle Mitchell, said that her father had noticed a car following him when he was approaching the freeway.

“He said that a car was following him, and had gone past him twice before he was attacked. As he was getting onto the M19 he got a puncture and when he stopped he saw a guy in front of him.

“He got a surprise when he saw five guys around him and one hit him in the face and another tried to hit him with a brick.

“When he realised they were after his bike he stopped fighting and let them take it. We think someone hit him with a stick and he was stabbed twice in the back,” she said.

She said that he had walked over two kilometres to his home,.

“He had his phone on him but he didn’t want to use it in case the guys were following him. He walked to my home and when he saw the lights were off he decided that he didn’t want to bother me so he just carried on. My dad is an incredibly strong man. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t call me,” Mitchell added.

“The tragedy of this whole thing, besides from this whole attack which was so brutal, is that he has to pull out of the World Championships. That is months of training that he will never get back.”

Cycling South Africa Safety and Security chairperson Craig Proctor-Parker described the attack as appalling.

“We at Cycling South Africa are utterly appalled at any attack on a cyclist at any time, and we implore the authorities to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“This is definitely not the first incident on the M19. There are documented incidents of similar attacks,” he said.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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