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.