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Watch: South African sportive cancelled as riders blown off the road by 100 kilometre winds

Joseph Delves
13 Mar 2017

Just a slight headwind...

High speed winds forced the cancellation of the 40th edition of the Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa on Sunday, with riders struggling to hold onto their bikes in gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour.

Riders at the South African race found themselves buffeted from the start by winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean.

Given the race’s location on the Cape of Africa many of the 35,000 registered participants were unfazed by the adverse conditions, with plenty choosing to set off regardless of severe weather warnings and the organisers ‘strongly urging participants who are either not comfortable, or do not have experience riding in strong winds, to consider their decision to participate’.

Despite struggling to stay upright, and the potential dangers of flying debris, most seemed in good spirits and resolute to push on before organisers were eventually forced to call the event off.

While a slight headwind might seem a somewhat wimpy reason to cancel a race, which had seen competitors pushing their bikes as far as kilometre 21, the organisers also cited ‘a large fire that broke out in Hout Bay in the early hours of the morning, and the added risk of protest action en route’ as reasons for curtailing the event.

With the course scheduled to climb Chapman's Peak, the potential for even more dangerous conditions on the mountain also contributed to the decision to call off the event for the first time in its 40 year history.

However the organisers managed to find the silver lining to the event’s cancellation, with the food and other provisions brought in for the race having now been donated to the around 2,000 people left homeless by the Hout Bay fire.

Billed as the world’s largest individually timed cycle race, organisers have promised to return next year although may consider moving the location of the start away from the coast.

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