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35,000 riders had been due to take part in today's Cape Town Cycle Tour, formerly the Cape Argus...

One of the world's biggest cycling events, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, had to be cancelled this morning as thousands of participants battled against winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour.

Previously called the Cape Argus, the event was founded in 1978 and with 35,000 cyclists participants bills itself as the world's largest timed bike race.

Videos posted to social media this morning showed riders battling to hole onto their bikes and being blown backwards by the wind, before organisers decided to cancel the event on safety grounds.

In a statement the organisers said: "It is with great regret that at 06h38 this morning, we were forced to make the difficult decision to stop the 40th edition of the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

"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.

"Our priority first and foremost will always be the safety of all our participants and the risk of injury and potential fatality at the start, at the finish and on Chapman’s Peak warranted this extremely difficult decision.  Furthermore, we only made the decision after endeavouring to mitigate all risks to keep the event open."

They added: "We are humbled by the outpouring of offers to assist and donate food, product and resources to those in need as a result of us stopping this Cycle Tour.  We are in the process of co-ordinating efforts to ensure that goods reach those in need in the fire-affected areas in Hout Bay."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

17 comments

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Leviathan [2868 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes

Just imagine the return leg though....

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steviemarco [236 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

That's what it's like on my commute every day, bloody Lincolnshire!lol

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WolfieSmith [1388 posts] 9 months ago
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I remember an event finishing on the Cat and Fiddle in 2013. Just before the last left handed to the pub I was puzzled to see the rider ahead of me suddenly glide on to the verge and collapse into the ditch. "How odd..." I thought. Then whack I was heading for the ditch in the cross wind too and just manage to clip out. My mate behind was thinking "How odd.." Whack...Etc etc. Getting down again was interesting too. 

Not sure I'd fancy a 100mph tailwind. A steady 25mph tailwind that followed me on every ride would be nice though.

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Freddy56 [280 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Swap out the deep sections and you're grand

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harman_mogul [301 posts] 9 months ago
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100 kilometre/hour wind (100 mph is hurricane force and blows houses down). Still a damn shame for participants — would have been the first time Central London CTC colours had appeared in this event. Too bad, Jon!

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sttuey [15 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

I bet some Strava KOMs were destroyed that day

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oceandweller [76 posts] 9 months ago
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That section past the station is a bit of a wind tunnel at the best of times, 60 mph winds must've made it **really** hard work. On a more serious note, very sad. This is the best bike ride in the Universe, & the 2nd time it's had to be cancelled in the last 3 runnings (2015 was truncated due to wild fires on the mountains, so instead of the full 70-mile loop of the Cape Peninsula it was 30 miles out & back to Muizenberg, a 7000-mile flight for less than I do pre-breakfast on a typical Sunday; on the plus side, it was still a great holiday).

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rokapotamus [23 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

 Where can you buy these new bikes that are so light you have to fight to keep them on the ground? Mines too heavy!

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DaveE128 [956 posts] 9 months ago
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https://goo.gl/maps/xDYZ6V26xcB2 The scenes in the video are caused by poorly thought ou architecture! A tall building with a hole under it will always funnel winds to significantly higher speeds. Would have been sensible to reroute to avoid going under that building given the wind.

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goggy [157 posts] 9 months ago
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DaveE128 wrote:

https://goo.gl/maps/xDYZ6V26xcB2 The scenes in the video are caused by poorly thought ou architecture! A tall building with a hole under it will always funnel winds to significantly higher speeds. Would have been sensible to reroute to avoid going under that building given the wind.

 

While I agree with this statement, especially having experienced it in half the wind speed shown here, it's the fact that much of the route goes along the coastline, with it cut out of the rockface on the west side of the peninsula over Chapman's Peak. It would have been far too dangerous to continue.

 

The ride from the east to west coast would have been amazingly fast though.

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baucutts [6 posts] 9 months ago
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A shame for all those who missed out on riding Chapman's Peak, definitely the best road I have ever ridden on, by a comfortable margin. That said, it is a bit of a wind funnel itself in being hollowed out of the mountainside.

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SingleSpeed [385 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
oceandweller wrote:

 This is the best bike ride in the Universe.

 

That's bullshit, the Alpha Centauri Century is better by far.

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davel [2005 posts] 9 months ago
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WolfieSmith wrote:

I remember an event finishing on the Cat and Fiddle in 2013. Just before the last left handed to the pub I was puzzled to see the rider ahead of me suddenly glide on to the verge and collapse into the ditch. "How odd..." I thought. Then whack I was heading for the ditch in the cross wind too and just manage to clip out. My mate behind was thinking "How odd.." Whack...Etc etc. Getting down again was interesting too. 

Not sure I'd fancy a 100mph tailwind. A steady 25mph tailwind that followed me on every ride would be nice though.

One of my favourite climbs... have had brutal crosswinds, snow and weird fog appear seemingly from nowhere (though not all 3 on the same ride).

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Rider X [13 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

What has modern cycling come to?  Its just a light breeze... HTFU!

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iDavid [52 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

I rode the Cape Town Cycle Tour (formerly "The Argus") seven times but, as I've got more titanium in my back than most bikes, this year I was part of the Start crew helping check in the elite riders (and direct them to the two loos that had not been blown away).

I've never experienced wind like it - a colleague measured 103 km/h. My wife, also a volunteer, was tossed to the ground like a paper bag and sustained heavy bruising.

Even though a few hundred riders were already 20k down the road, the only responsible decision was to cancel as a serious incident could have jeopardised the City of Cape Town's support for future events. Despite massive disappointment, especially amongst the 4,000 overseas riders including hundreds of Brits, there was general acceptance that the organisers had made the right call.

The regular post-event review will consider changing the location of the start and/or the date, though it would be a shame to move it away from the city centre - maybe not pretty, but the sights and sounds of 35,000 riders congregating as the African sun comes up over Table Mountain are truly memorable.

Well done to those who made the trip. Enjoy your stay and come back next year, though you'll never get a faster time!

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tendecimalplaces [12 posts] 9 months ago
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Two questions;

1) Did the weather conditions really deteriorate so rapidly that it was a sensible idea to start the event? It says in the article that some riders were 20 km in when it was abandoned which suggests that these conditions were very close to the start time?

2) According to Wikipedia, 8.25% of the South African population are white. Ok, so not everyone in the event is South African, but is it just coincidental that I can only spot 2 non-white people in all of the videos? Yes, segragation isn't just cycling's problem, but it is cycling's problem!

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beezus fufoon [956 posts] 9 months ago
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tendecimalplaces wrote:

2) According to Wikipedia, 8.25% of the South African population are white. Ok, so not everyone in the event is South African, but is it just coincidental that I can only spot 2 non-white people in all of the videos? Yes, segragation isn't just cycling's problem, but it is cycling's problem!

first you're suggesting that there may be a lot of black people who want to compete, but can't - which may or may not be the case... (I've occasionally been the only white face at certain events and never heard anyone express the idea that, "oh dear, we need more whites here")

secondly, if they are unable to compete due to not having the disposable income to spend a grand or two on kit - is that really just "cycling's problem"?