A 13-year-old Ocean View resident finished first in the under-15 category of the 45th Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday March 12.
Ronaldo Levendall, a Grade 7 pupil at Marine Primary School, beat 767 riders to win the 42km race in an hour and 17 minutes.
He told the Echo he was excited to take part in the race and found the route easy.
“I wasn’t nervous on the day, and didn’t think I would win, but when I did I was really happy,” he said.
Ronaldo’s father, Gavin Levendall, who is also an avid cyclist, said his son has always loved cycling.
“When I bought him his first bicycle, he would see the kids in the yellow cycling tops going for rides every Saturday and asked if he could join that club.”
Mr Levendall approached the Ocean View cycling club, Fresh Start, started by Abduraghiem de Klerk and his wife Sageda nine years ago.
They started the club to empower the youth through cycling and keep them off the streets.
The club consists of 28 riders, both boys and girls, who train every day after school, weather permitting, for about an hour and a half. On weekends they do a 45km run, and on Sundays they do nothing under 100km.
Mr De Klerk, a Grade 7 teacher at Marine Primary School and Ronaldo’s coach, said he could tell Ronaldo had natural talent when he joined the club at the age of 10.
“I noticed his posture when he was riding his bicycle, a child’s posture already tells me whether they are good riders. He was also very disciplined, and dedicated,” he told the Echo.
It was a great feeling for Ronaldo to join the club.
“I enjoy being part of a team, and I get to wear the yellow kit I’ve always wanted to,” he said.
In preparation for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Ronaldo did long routes as part of his training, according to Mr de Klerk.
“We practised the distance of 128km and we did it at a steady pace, not as a race but for endurance,” he said.
Ronaldo and his father, who also coaches the riders at Fresh Start, often go for rides on their own too.
“But I’m too fast for him, “ Ronaldo says jokingly.
He encourages other cyclists his age to join the club.
“It’s a lot of fun and keeps you out of trouble,” he said.
In July last year, Ronaldo was selected to represent Western Province and he hopes to be selected again this year.
Next year, he plans to take part in the 70km Cape Town Cycle Tour as an under-17.
When asked how he thinks he will do, Ronaldo replied: “I’m going to win it too.”