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.
— Ross Tucker (@Scienceofsport) March 12, 2017
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."
— Johan (@Johan48610287) March 12, 2017
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.