03 Sep, 2015

Sporting heroes

Photograph by Jetline Action Photo
I once heard an interesting statement which struck a chord, deep down into my “cleated area”.

I think it was Phil Liggett who said: “The two most popular sports personalities in Portugal are Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa.”

Rui Costa, for those who don’t know, was the 2013 UCI World Road Champion and won the Tour of Switzerland three times (2012, 2013 and 2014). The other chap, I think, is famous for a hair commercial.

Leg-pulling aside, I’m not sure if any of our cyclists, including the likes of Ertjies Bezuidenhout or Robbie Hunter, have ever been household names like our cricket and rugby legends.

And if you don’t believe me, go into any public place and ask a few people to name five South African rugby, cricket and cycling heroes. You’ll definitely get five rugby names, and I’m pretty certain you’ll get five cricket players too. But I reckon the only cyclist’s name you’ll get will be Lance Armstrong. And he isn’t even South African!

Now this is perhaps one of the reasons why we, at Modern Cyclist, enjoy telling you about people like Ryan Gibbons, Till Drobisch, Nico Pfitzenmaier, Franco Ferreira and Mike Hewan.

Also in this issue, we have an update from a man who calls himself The Godfather on the progress of our 50 Shades of … Mud riders, we give you the low down on the Dis-Chem Ride 4 Sight race and we help the Johannesburg Mountain Bike Club celebrate its 25th birthday.

Elite cyclist Richard Baxter gives us a scientific look at pedalling, and our mysterious Bike Whisperer tells us how to transport our bikes safely and in good order.

Our lead story this month is the simple fact that MTN Qhubeka’s pro Continental team secured an entry into our sport’s most famous event.

Cycling is officially the fastest growing sport in South Africa. So let’s start talking about our cycling heroes, and then, hopefully, names like Mariska Strauss, Louis Meintjies, Philip Buys, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Heidi Dalton will become as well-known as that guy who kicked a ball at Ellis Park in 1995.

Keep talking cycling!

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |