Extreme weather conditions forced the cancellation of the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday March 12. The event that has billed itself as the world’s largest timed cycle race had 35,000 participants scheduled to ride the 109 km route for its 40th anniversary.
Race organizers originally shortened the route to 78 km early Sunday morning due to road damage because of the weather conditions. There were also demonstrations planned that organizers expected would potential disrupt the race. Due to the forecast, the race organizers had warned that participants not comfortable riding in the wind not take the start. However, due to winds gusting up to 100 km/h, exceeding what the weather forecasters had called for, the organizers decided to cancel the event.
Videos of racers battling the wind were posted to social media throughout the morning. Four groups of racers had been allowed to start before the call was made to cancel the event and get all participants off the course.
— Stefano Aracena (@stefaracena) March 12, 2017
Racers could be seen being blown around by the wind and having trouble simply holding onto their bikes.
“It is with great regret that at 6:38 a.m. this morning, we were forced to make the difficult decision to stop the 40th edition of the Cape Town Cycle Tour,” read an event statement explaining the decision to cancel the event.
— Ross Tucker (@Scienceofsport) March 12, 2017
“This morning presented a number of challenges, not least of which were wind speeds considerably higher than predicted yesterday. This, combined with a large fire that broke out in Hout Bay in the early hours of this morning, and the added risk of protest action en route, were all contributing factors to the decision made in our Joint Operation Centre (JOC) by the VOC Commander to stop the event,” the statement said.
The video captured and posted on social media made it quite evident that completing a ride in such conditions would have been considerably challenging. The statement continued, “To the participants who have invested time, effort and resources in getting to the start line, our heartfelt thanks – ultimately this decision was made in the interests of your safety.”
— Johan (@Johan48610287) March 12, 2017