Cycle Tour tandem duo killed in smash
First training ride of year ends in tragedy
THEREZA Kruger started training for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour on Monday. Hours later, she and her tandem partner died in a collision with a police van.
“She was not only my auntie and godmother, Thereza Kruger was a friend, a mother of three and a sister to six,” said a teary-eyed niece Sonia du Toit, 31.
Kruger, 48, and her cycling partner, Hendry Raats, 53, a manager at Sasol, were killed when their bicycle collided with a police van on the R550 in Kliprivier, Joburg. A case of culpable homicide is being investigated.
“I last spoke to my auntie on New Year’s Day, and now she’s gone,” said Du Toit.
Kruger was an accountant and her New Year’s resolution was to enrol at Unisa for an honours degree.
“She loved studying and cycling,” said Du Toit. “She did all the big races.”
Du Toit described Kruger and Raats as good friends. Raats also had children – two sons in their 20s.
Details of the accident remain unclear, with the only witnesses believed to be two police officers in the vehicle.
They were not hurt. But Du Toit said it was believed another vehicle had gone past the cyclists at great speed and that had “pulled them” into the road. The police vehicle was behind them travelling in the same direction and hit them, she said.
Police spokesman Tshisikhawe Ndou said the officers had been travelling from Kliprivier police station when the accident happened at about 9.45am.
Helivac emergency response owner Jean-pierre van Tonder said the accident had happened on a long, straight stretch of road where cyclists should be clearly visible to motorists, and that the two had been dressed in brightly coloured cycling gear.
Last year saw a series of cycling-related road deaths.
In the Free State, two cyclists died in January in a road accident involving a truck near Marquard.
Four cyclists died when a van drove into the group near Oudtshoorn in March.
Two cyclists died in Kwazulu-natal, one of them a 16-year-old boy.