Ironman cyclist knocked out in attack by gang

A second foreign Ironman competitor has been attacked and robbed by a gang near Schoenmakerskop.

The man, who has not been identified but is believed to be Yugoslavian, was knocked off his bicycle in Victoria Drive, about a kilometre out of Schoenmakerskop, and robbed of his cellphone and wallet.

He was lying in the road with the bike on top of him, surrounded by the thugs, when an approaching vehicle scared them off.

The attack was ominously similar to the two on March 24, when first Port Elizabeth recreational cyclist Leon Killian and then 2013 Ironman champion Frederik van Lierde, from Belgium, were assaulted on the same stretch of road.

A motorist described on Facebook how she was driving back after walking her dog at Schoenies when she saw a group of four men crowded around something in the road near the World War 2 military blockhouse.

In the post, she said that as she approached, the group scattered.

“They ran into the bush in the direction of Summerstrand – and I saw it was a cyclist lying unconscious, or dead, in the middle of the road with his bicycle on [top of] him,” she said.

Aware of recent attacks and warnings, she did not stop but raced to the Animal Welfare Society, where staff called the police and an ambulance as well as sending down a vehicle and team of their own.

“Apparently the victim was a young Yugoslavian man,” the motorist said.

“He had been knocked unconscious and robbed but was otherwise not seriously injured.”

Atlas Security operations manager Monty Montgomery said the cyclist was bleeding and in a state of shock when his team arrived at the scene.

An Atlas inspector had followed the attackers’ escape trail and discovered the cyclist’s ID document and passport, which had then been returned to him.

“Apparently these guys surrounded him and he came off his bike when they kicked his back wheel,” he said.

Montgomery said his inspector had found a telephone number in the recovered passport, which he rang.

“It was the guesthouse where he was staying and the owners there were very upset to hear about the incident because this guy comes down each year to compete in Ironman.”

Neither the man’s name nor the name of the guesthouse was available last night, however.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans confirmed the incident but said the victim had not laid a complaint.

He said the man had already been taken to hospital by ambulance by the time police arrived at the scene.

Bay safety and security mayoral committee member John Best strongly condemned the attack.

“I will be meeting with police [today] to discuss it and the prior attacks, and [with] the Ironman organisers [tomorrow] to discuss a way forward for competitors,” he said.


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