Full Name  |  Erik Kleinhans
Nickname  |  Lionking
Home  |  Stellenbosch
Date of Birth  |  4 May 1982
Place of Birth  |  George Western Cape
School  |  Oakdale Agricultural Riversdale
Education  |  Stellenbosch University
Degree  |  B.Comm Management Accounting
Height  |  184cm
Weight  |  75-77kg
Shoe size  |  45,5 (Giro)
Book  |  Paths of Glory, Jeffrey Archer
Movie  |  The Matrix off course!
Series  |  Suits
Band  |  Snow Patrol
Food  |  Steak, veggies, scrambled eggs, fine dining
Drink  |  Coffee, Red Wine
First Road Race  |  1999 CT Cycle Tour
First MTB Race  |  2007 Cape Epic
Strengths  |  Dedication. Hilly power racing
Weakness  |  Good food... Thus steep long climbs

Erik’s earliest cycling memories are of travelling to Cape Town as a teenager to compete (or in those days simply finish) the annual 109km Cycle Tour, the world’s largest timed cycle race. 

Born in the coastal town of George in the Southern Cape, he attended an agricultural school in nearby Riversdale after which he was accepted to study accounting at Stellenbosch University in 2001. While in Stellenbosch Erik’s passion for cycling gained momentum like a 29er wheel and he soon found himself in the University’s road cycling team with aspirations of going pro!

However, after six years of racing the local road scene, and a punishing 6-month stint on the cobbles of Belgium thrown in for good measure, Erik was introduced to the world of mountain biking in 2007. 

Entering the 2007 Cape Epic was a last minute decision and he only received his mountain bike (a 26” GT hardtail) 10 days before arriving in Knysna, the starting point in those days. 

Over the ensuing nine years Erik would claw his way up the ranks with sheer determination and hard work, ultimately fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional bike racer and in doing so becoming a household name among South Africa’s cycling community where he is known as the LionKing.

After a successful three years with the now disbanded Team RECM (2013-2015), Erik is looking forward to a stellar 2016 with his new German based team, Topeak Ergon. 


Other Experiences

University of Stellenbosch Cycling Club  -  Chairman 2004-2009

Giro del Capo UCI 2.2 Stage race  -  Assistant Event Director 2006-2007

Omnico Bicycle Importers  -  Stock Controller and Marketing Manager 2007-2009

Team GT Mr-Price / Red Mongoose  -  Team Manager 2007-2010

South African Student Championships 4 day Event  -  Organiser 2009

Western Cape Provincial XCO  -  Organiser 2009

Team RECM  -  Owner and Manager 2015


Previous Stage Race partners 

Alban Lakata (Team Topeak Ergon)

  • 2017 - 6th - Bike Transalps

It was never the plan to race the Transalps with Alban, but days after winning his 3rd World XCM title, a small training crash had him struggling with a minor rib injury and our Topeak Ergon Team wash shuffled around a bit. An honour to race with Alban, a real gentleman, very supportive, motivational and respectful.





Jeremiah Bishop (Team Topeak Ergon)

  • 2017 - 14th - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2017 - 8th - Momentum Tankwa Trek
  • 2016 - 8th - Andalucia Bike race
  • 2016 - 10th - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2016 - 13th - TransAlps

Never a dull moment with the exciting American, JB, by my side! We were paired together for the sole purpose to look after Alban and Kristian in the big stage races around the world. JB races mostly in the states, is a former American Champion and narrowly missed out on Olympic participation in more than one occasion. Our best stage must have been our podium finish with Alban and Kristian in the Andalusia Bike Race, with them winning the stage, but also our fourth place finish in stage 6 of the Cape Epic, we just needed to hang on to the wheel of the Bulls in the last kilometres, but I just came up short. Funniest moment for sure Alban running to us asking for our shoe size?? Turns out Kristian broke his shoe and had to finish an Epic stage with my shoe a size to small.


Matt Beers (Red-E Cannondale)

  • 2017 - 1st - Gravel and Grape [2 stage wins]
  • 2016 - 3rd - Cape Pioneer Trek [4 stage wins]
  • 2016 - 1st - Grindrod Berg & Bush [2 stage wins]
  • 2016 - 2nd - Isuzu 3-Towers [1 stage win]

For the 2016 season, Matt and I were solo flyers in SA, and while away racing bikes in Europe, Matt contacted me suggesting we race together the end of season races in our home country. Ended up a huge success and we made a great partnership! Winning the Berg & Bush stage race together in a really strong field must have been one of my career highlights.

Jaco Venter (Dimension Data)

  • 2016 - 150th - Wines2Whales

On a last minute call-up after James Reid crashed out of racing with me two days before the start of the race, Jaco was only too glad to stand in and take part in one of the best that the Western Cape has to offer. I know Jaco a long time also being a local racer from Somerset West and it was an honour to race with the then national road champion of SA. I like Jaco for some gutsy rides! Once caught with 400m to go from a possible Vuelta stage win, and another daring move being almost 200km in a break at Luik-Bastonake-Luik!




Nico Bell (Team RECM)

  • 2015 - 22nd - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2015 - 1st - Epic Israel [2 stage wins]
  • 2015 - 1st - Isuzu 3-Towers
  • 2015 - 2nd - Sani2c
  • 2014 - 8th - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2014 - Far back! - Cape Pioneer Trek
  • 2014 - dnf - Sani2c

Nico lives in Nelspruit and service bikes while running Bell's Cycling and while racing his bike. For two years Nico and I teamed up for the biggest stage races in the country. We came so close to win the African Jersey at the Cape Epic, but had other duties in those years to look after Susi, Jaro and Franti. We had some bad races when I crashed out of Sani2c destroying my shoulder in 2014 and also being injured in the 2014 Cape Pioneer, but we did finish our partnership together strong by winning 3-Towers and the Israel Epic together. Funniest moments together was the 2014 Cape Epic, "where is Bostrom!", when we had the privilege to experience Paolo Montoya and Ben Bostrom loosing each other constantly and being all over the show!



James Reid (Team RECM)

  • 2015 - 1st - Tankwa Trek [2 stage wins]
  • 2015 - 1st - Wines 2 Whales [ 2 stage wins]

James joined Team RECM for one year with the goal to have some freedom to pursue his Olympic participation. Sadly, the team ended before he could represent the RECM brand in Rio, but we did get the opportunity to race together in the two biggest Western Cape 3-day stage races, and we sure made it count! It was definitely two of my most exciting victories ever and we raced hard from start to finish.  

Video W2W  | Stage 1  | Stage 2  | Stage 3


Chris Wolhuter (Team Asrin)

  • 2015 - 1st - Stage 5 Cape Pioneer Trek

I wasn't really planning on doing the Cape Pioneer in 2015, but a last minute request from Chris saw me on the start-line. Chris came a long way in his cycling since we became friends in the Stellenbosch University days and it was cool to get the chance to race together. We tried hard on stage 2, we attacked and got a gap, with more than a minute with a fast and flat 10km home, the stage was in the bag! But what! A puncture took a what was a big dream for Chris away. We tried again, on the King stage, after losing a few minutes up Swartberg Pass, we caught the leaders and attacked with 50km to go, at one stage it got down to a mere 30sec, but the finish was fast and we were motivated!


Frantisek Rabon (Specialised)

  • 2014 - 1st - Stage 3 Tankwa Trek

In a short space of time, Franti and I became really good friends. Signed by Specialised to win the Cape Epic with Susi, no easy task, but coming from a lucrative road racing career, why not go for it! We traveled together to Ride the Rock in the Cederberg where he was amazed by all the rocks ;) Then teamed up together for one of the best Epic preparation races. Franna did not have a good 1st day getting not it, day 2 we were going but sadly I flatted, but on day 3 things came together and I was with a happy man winning the last stage together! Franti still lives in Plzen, Chech Republic and we are like old mates whenever we see each other.



Sipho Modolo (Songo.info)

  • 2014 - 18th - Wines2Whales

For five years Sipho, Susi and I trained together every day, we are still good mates and it was great to race the Wines2Whales with him! We gave it all on the first day, but we just could not reach our goal of a top ten. Maybe one day we will get the chance to race together again! Sipho now works for the Songo.info charity and has grown from a boy into a man through the years I've known him.


 Waylon Woolcock (Team RECM)

  • 2013 - 1st - Cape Pioneer
  • 2013 - 3rd - Sani2c

Waylon and I became good friend when he moved to Stellies and I joined Team RECM. We trained many kilometres together, but never really got the chance to race together as he was mostly teaming up with Lourens Luus while I raced with Ariane. We did get the chance though and made it count in his last stage race for the team when we rode a near perfect, consistent race to win the Pioneer overall without any stage wins.



Ariane Kleinhans (Team Contego & Team RECM) 

(All mixed category)

  • 2013 - 1st - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2013 - 1st - JoBerg2c
  • 2013 - 1st - Sani2c
  • 2012 - 1st - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2012 - 1st - Sani2c
  • 2012 - 1st - JoBerg2c
  • 2011 - 2nd - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2011 - 1st - Cape Pioneer Trek
  • 2011 - 1st - Sani2c
  • 2011 - 1st - JoBerg2c
  • 2011 - 1st - Ride the Rhino

Ariane and I spent a lovely 5 years together and did some great bike races in that period. Both of us grew a lot as humans and as bike racers in this period of our lives. I met her at a stage race and after some hard negotiating, the owners of Contego gave her the opportunity to race and live in SA and the rest is pretty much history. Winning the Cape Epic mixed category in 2012 and 2013 change our lives and from there we hoped that the sky is the limit.

Afrikaans blast from the past | Pasella TV


 Oliver Munnik (GT Mr Price)

  • 2010 - 2nd - Wines2Whales [2 stage wins]
  • 2010 - 28th - Absa Cape Epic
  • 2010 - 11th - Sani2c
  • 2010 - dnf - Cape Pioneer
  • 2009 - 1st - Wines2Whales [3 stage wins]
  • 2008 - 12th - Absa Cape Epic

Oli and I saw the end of 26'er racing together. We teamed up for the first time in 2008 and funny enough, we we had a big race on our hands with future teammate, Jeremiah Bishop and Chris Eatough, for a top 10 placing, we both ended up outside that mark! After a tough 2010 with health issues following Oli around in the races, we came very close to end it on a high at the W2W just like we did the year before winning the first edition of what is such a famous race now. Oli is my brother, we went through thick and thin together and glad to still be able to see each other a lot. Now writer and Gear editor for Bicycling Magazine in SA.


Johnny Kritzinger (Team Schwinn)

  • 2009 - 1st - Cape Pioneer Trek [5 stage wins]

For many years Johnny was my Stellies local training partner. We met at his house in the morning for biking action and he always made us a recovery smoothy afterwards, it was good times and I still believe he had what it takes to become one of SA's best. But after finishing his accounting degree, decided to jet off to Egoli to enter the corporate world and finish his articles. Now happily married and only riding his bike for fun over the weekends with unshaven legs!



Arno Viljoen (GT Mr Price)

  • 2007 - 18th - Absa Cape Epic

My MTB journey all started with this man! And with long time sponsor, Mr Alan Hodson. Arno and I were good mates and trained and raced often together for the University of Stellenbosch cycling team. Arno was a special climber, boy I wish he rather continued his cycling after his studies, but he must have spotted some sort of toughness in me when he asked my boss at that time, Alan, if I could race the Cape Epic with him. It was a long and tough discussion. But I owe Alan a lot for agreeing to the opportunity. I got my GT Zaskar 10-days before the Epic, and after the first stage, I knew I will never stop racing mountain bikes, it suits my personality, being out there, I loved it! I was bruised and stuffed on day 7, but we were in 13th position and I was happy until a 1hour penalty moved us into 18th. Still one of my best experiences.




Previous Teams

  • 2017 - Team Topeak Ergon
  • 2016 - Team Topeak Ergon
  • 2015 - Team RECM
  • 2014 - Team RECM
  • 2013 - Team RECM
  • 2012 - Team Contego
  • 2011 - Team Contego
  • 2010 - Team GT Mr Price
  • 2009 - Team GT Mr Price
  • 2008 - Team GT Mr Price
  • 2007 - Team GT Mr Price
  • 2006 - GT Maties (Stellenbosch University)
  • 2005 - GT Edu-Loan Maties (Stellenbosch University)
  • 2004 - GT Edu-Loan Maties (Stellenbosch University)
  • 2003 - GT Edu-Loan Maties (Stellenbosch University)
  • 2002 - Maties (Stellenbosch University)
  • 2001 - Maties (Stellenbosch University)