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Top cyclist attacked on Sunday jaunt

Durban - A cyclist who was scheduled to fly to Slovenia next month for the Amateur World Road Cycling Championships was attacked on Rodger Sishi Road (Blair Atholl) near the M19 onramp at dawn on Sunday while cycling to meet a friend in Hillcrest.

Vaughan Cronje, 59, who was the world champion in his age group in 1992, is in intensive care in Westville Hospital where he is being treated for a host of injuries, including a punctured lung.

Vaughan Cronje, 59, who was the world champion in his age group in 1992, is in intensive care in Westville Hospital where he is being treated for a host of injuries, including a punctured lung. Credit: THE MERCURY

On Monday night, his daughter Michelle Mitchell said it was unlikely her father would be able to make the trip.

Cronje had been cycling from his home in Westville when he was attacked by five men. He had stopped next to the road to attend to one of his tyres which was giving trouble.

He told Mitchell that instead of travelling through Cowies Hill he had decided to take the most direct route, along the M19, because he was running late.

“Just as he stopped the men attacked him from behind. He was kicked in the back, one threw a stone at his face and he was stabbed twice near his shoulder blade and then hit with what he thinks was a knobkierie.”

The attackers then grabbed his Giant racing bike and made off towards the M19.

Mitchell said Cronje walked back to his house in Westville, first passing her house and deciding not to go in because the lights were still off and the family was asleep.

“When he arrived home he looked at himself in the mirror and decided that he better wash his face. He woke up later on the ground,” she said.

Cronje had a cellphone on him when he was attacked, but did not take it out when he walked home as he was afraid the attackers were still watching him. He used it later to raise the alarm.

Mitchell said her father felt defeated. “His ticket was booked, sponsorship had come through and his visa was approved.”

The last time Cronje competed in a world championship was in 1993, when he broke his collar bone, which prevented him from competing for some time.

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