11 March 2018 saw the ‘rerun’ of the 40th edition of the world’s largest timed cycle race, the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Over 30 000 cyclists took on the iconic 109 kilometre route around the peninsula in almost perfect conditions, in contrast to the 2017 edition when high winds at the start and on the course forced the cancellation of the race.
One of our responses to the conditions in 2017 was to move the start for this year’s Cycle Tour to the Grand Parade Precinct. “We needed to be responsive in respect of this 2017’s challenges and looked to mitigate the wind risk,” commented David Bellairs, Marketing, Media and Sponsorship Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust. “Fortunately we were blessed with perfect cycling weather today,” he said.
The weather, indeed, was a talking point among most of the riders. “What an awesome ride,” said Tony Mcfarlane a 68-year-old rider who completed his 18th Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday. “Last year was a huge disappointment, so it’s great how the weather turned out today. And, I felt really good, I could’ve done another 20 kilometres,” he joked.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, echoed Tony’s sentiments. “It was just such a beautiful day,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Last year when we had to cancel because of the weather, it went viral across the world and what you really want is a day like today to go viral,” he said. Winde completed his 10th event this year and received a special medal for his effort.
At the sharp end of the field Nolan Hoffman (Team BCX) out-sprinted Sam Gaze (Investec-Songo-Specialized) and Reynard Butler (Pro Touch) to win his third title in a time of 02:37:30. (Sam Gaze won the MTB World Cup yesterday, the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge – winning the Cape Town Cycle Tour would have made for a phenomenal triple.)
The women’s race saw a pioneering first when the elite and u23 women riders were offered the option of a 76 kilometre race, starting in Glencairn. This shorter route ensured a clear run all the way to the finish for the women.
In the end, Kim Le Court (Demacon) took the bunch sprint ahead of Namibia’s Vera Adrian (DormaKaba) and track star Maroesjka Matthee (Ciovita).
Bellairs concluded with a somber announcement: “The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust is sad to confirm that today, during the 40th riding of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, there were two incidents that have resulted in the passing of two of our participants.
“The first was a trauma incident just before 9:00 this morning on the M3 southbound in which a group of 20 cyclists were involved in a pile up. One of the cyclists succumbed to the injuries he sustained in this incident. His family has asked that we respect their privacy at this time and we will not be releasing his name.
“In the 2nd incident a male participant succumbed to a suspected heart attack at Smitswinkel Bay at approximately 10:22. Once again we are respecting the family’s wishes and not releasing his name”.
“Our most sincere condolences go out to the families of both these participants.”
Marshall passed away – Satatement by David Bellairs
“We have received the sad news that late yesterday afternoon one of our Rotary marshalls passed away in hospital. He was stationed on an S-bend after the Llundudno turnoff. The circumstances surrounding the incident are unclear and we are currently investigating the incident in conjunction with the South African Police Services.”
“Our Rotary marshalls have always been integral to the successful running of the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Most of them work alongside us year after year in a voluntary capacity. They are part of the Cycle Tour family, as are our riders, and we are deeply saddened by this news. We ask for respect for the family’s privacy at this time. We will communicate further information when we have it, if appropriate.”
“For the vast majority of our cyclists and those working behind the scenes, the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour reached a successful culmination after months of hard work. But three families are in mourning for the three lives lost on the route this year. One cyclist succumbed to his wounds at the scene of a pileup with other cyclists at the base of Wynberg Hill, another is suspected to have experienced a heart attack going up the hill at Smitswinkel Bay, and, as stated, we are awaiting confirmation regarding the marshall. ”
“I want to assure everyone that all measures are taken to ensure participants’ and marshalls’ safety on the route. In my 28 years working on the Cycle Tour, there have been only 2 trauma related deaths on the day of Cycle Tour. Our hearts and prayers are with the families at this very sad time. We have extended our most sincere condolences.”