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Kombo Bere (left) and Daan Terblanche (right) on Stage 5 of the Cape Epic earlier this morning. They posted a good time on the flatter and smoother section of the race around Wellington. Photo: Ralda van Wyk.

Kombo and Daan are still going strong with two days of racing left

Date: 22 March 2024 By: Andries van Zyl

"Kombo Bere and Daan Terblanche are still going strong with two days of racing left in the gruelling annual Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race. The team from Louis Trichardt have completed their fifth stage and look set to claim their first-ever Cape Epic finish on Sunday, provided their legs hold out.

The duo entered as a development team, riding in the colours of the Soutpansberg Youth Cycling Development (SYCD), and have so far impressed with their perseverance, completing five of the seven-stage race despite an ever-looming daily cut-off time.

For both, it has been a lifelong dream to participate in the Cape Epic. They set off on their maiden race on Sunday, 17 March, and, with the completion of today’s stage, have covered 448km of the 602km race. Their total elevation gain over the first five stages was 11,750 metres. Yesterday saw them taking on the toughest stage of the race, the Queen Stage, which was initially set at 88km with a demanding 3,000m climb. However, due to the extreme heat in the Boland, this stage was shortened to 73km with a climb of 2,550m. On Wednesday, Stanley Thompson from the SYCD commented that completing the Queen Stage usually indicates that a team will finish the Cape Epic.

Kombo and Daan are competing in the highly competitive Elite Men's category alongside some of the country’s (and the world's) best mountain bikers. Following their Stage 5 finish today, they were ranked 47th in the UCI Men's category and 350th overall. Tomorrow, they will tackle Stage 6 of the race, covering a distance of 87km with a 2,400m climb around Stellenbosch. The Cape Epic will conclude on Sunday, 24 March, with a 67km stage featuring 2,000m of climbing, also in Stellenbosch.

Following their Stage 5 finish, Stanley mentioned that the duo had a great day in the saddle with a much quicker and smoother trail from Wellington to Stellenbosch. “It didn’t go too badly for them yesterday,” said Stanley. However, he added, Daan joked that his legs were doing a bit of “load-shedding” on the climbs.

Mentally, Stanley noted, both Kombo and Daan are in a good place. “They managed to do a good amount of maintenance yesterday... This includes washing their clothes as they only have two or three bibs they are riding in,” said Stanley. He remains optimistic about their chances of finishing. “But there is still a fair amount of climbing over the next two days,” Stanley added.

Another “local” rider doing exceptionally well during this year’s Cape Epic is former Triegie, CP van Wyk (right). CP is riding with teammate Philip Malan (left). Photo: Ralda van Wyk.

Another “local” rider performing exceptionally well in this year’s Cape Epic is former Triegie, CP van Wyk. CP, who retired from professional cycling in December, received a last-minute call-up to cycle with teammate Philip Malan in the amateur men’s category. At the end of Stage 5, CP and Philip were 76th overall and 14th in the amateur men’s category.

 
 
 

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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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