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Daan Terblanche (left) and Kombo Bere (right) pictured at the start of this year’s Absa Cape Epic, the prologue over 26km on Sunday. Photo: Ralda van Wyk.

'They are still in the race!'

Date: 21 March 2024 By: Andries van Zyl

Louis Trichardt cyclists Kombo Bere and Daan Terblanche are in the thick of things, competing in this year's gruelling Absa Cape Epic that is taking place from 17 to 24 March.

Competing in the development-team category, they are racing for Soutpansberg Youth Cycling Development (SYCD). The duo got their first “taste” of the Cape Epic on Sunday during the 26km prologue race and a climb of 700m, which they completed in a time of 01:37:40. “The game plan was simple: take it easy, get the bikes ready, and prepare for Stage 1 on Monday,” said Stanley Thompson from SYCD on Wednesday.

On Monday, the going became tough for the pair, with an 88km stage and a 2,450m climb, which they finished in a time of 06:21:48. Stanley said the day had been especially long for Daan, who started cramping up. “But they made it okay. It was just a long day in the seat,” said Stanley. Daan had to receive an injection and a massage to get him ready for Stage 2.

Tuesday saw them tackle a gruelling 2,200m climb over 97km, with the duo finishing in a time of 08:37:31. But the day was not without incident. At the 50km mark, Daan’s freewheel hub shattered. To rescue their race, Kombo took Daan’s bike and ran with it to the 70km water point, while Daan continued cycling on Kombo’s bike. “At the 70km mark, a mechanic tried to fix the hub but had to give up. In the end, Daan was given a second-hand wheel to continue,” said Stanley. Crisis averted, Kombo and Daan finished the stage, but again a long eight-and-a-half hours  were spent in the cycling seat.

At the time of our going to press on Wednesday, Kombo and Daan were busy with another gruelling 2,100m climb over the 94km Stage 3. “I spoke to them, and Kombo said they were fighting a hell of a wind!” said Stanley. At that stage, Kombo and Daan were between the third and fourth water points. The duo were, however, riding conservatively in preparation for the “queen” stage on Thursday, the murderous Stage 4, with a 3,000m climb over 88km. “If you can get past the queen stage, you can finish the Cape Epic,” said Stanley.

Mentally, Stanley said, Stage 1 on Monday had been the toughest, but from there, everything was good. He said that Kombo and Daan had mentioned that the food was very good, helping them cope mentally. “But spending so much time in the saddle every day leaves you little time for maintenance. Kombo and Daan said they were going to try and finish Stage 3 a bit earlier, so that they could get some maintenance done before the queen stage,” said Stanley.

After Thursday’s queen stage (Stage 4), Friday’s Stage 5 consists of a 1,750m climb over 70km, followed by Saturday’s Stage 6 over a distance of 87km and a 2,400m climb. This year’s Cape Epic will conclude on Sunday at Stellenbosch with a “short” Stage 7 of 67km with a 2,000m climb. As for Kombo and Daan, the whole Soutpansberg cycling community is rooting for them to finish in style! “They are still in the race!” said Stanley.

 

 
 
 

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Andries van Zyl

Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.

 
 

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