Ertjies fighting for his life

2012-02-27 22:31
Ertjies Bezuidenhout in his heyday (File)
Cape Town - South African cycling legend Ertjies Bezuidenhout, 56, is fighting for his life after suffering a massive stroke a few hours after participating in a race.

The Beeld newspaper reports that the former Springbok cyclist is in a serious condition in a Pretoria hospital.

Jacques van Vuuren, Bezuidenhout's cousin, told Beeld that he is in a "very, very bad" condition.

"The doctors told Adri (his wife) today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) are critical days."

Bezuidenhout, one of South Africa's best ever cyclists, participated in a 103km race in Brakpan on Sunday morning and finished the race.

"It was Ertjies's first race in 22 years. He has been cycling for about two hours a day for the last six months, mainly with his old bikes from way back," said Van Vuuren.

He started feeling ill on his way home to Pretoria and suffered the stroke at his house.

Bezuidenhout won the Rapport Cycle Tour in 1984 and also bagged three Argus titles - in 1981, 1984 and 1986.

He was a very strong climber and won the King of the Mountain title several times during the Rapport tours.

He rode in the same era as legends such as Alan van Heerden and Robbie McIntosh. Van Heerden died in a car crash a few years ago.

Due to South Africa's sporting isolation in the 1980's, Bezuidenhout at times participated in Europe under a false name and passport to test himself against the world’s best.

After retiring from cycling, Bezuidenhout was a trainee manager at Mercedes Benz before starting his own business in Pretoria.

A few years ago he told jokingly told Beeld that he doesn't cycle anymore because "cars are more convenient".


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