Disappointment as Cape Town Cycle Classic is called off…..
Many avid Namibian cyclists are disappointed about the sudden cancellation of the Cape Town Cycle Tour over the past weekend. Amongst the riders was Swakopmund businessman Quinton Liebenberg. “When the rumour started going around through the riders that the event is cancelled, everybody just stood there in disbelief,” he said to namib times yesterday from South Africa.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour, also known as the Cape Argus, is one of the biggest cycling events in Southern Africa and has also received world-wide fame. Close to 40 000 participants take part in the yearly event, many riders are from all over the world, while a lot of Namibians travel to Cape Town for this occasion as well.
“In 2016 it was my first time taking part and because everything was perfect it inspired me to do it again this year,” Liebenberg said. The 109 kilometre race is especially popular due to the scenic route, as rider’s cycle along Chapman’s Peak. “It was the 40th race and it was one of the things on my bucket list,” he continued.
The event organisers released a statement shortly afterwards, explaining the difficult decision. The event was cancelled due to a number of challenges. Firstly there was an added risk of protest action en route, coupled with a large fire that broke out in Hout Bay. The final straw was the extremely high wind speed, reported to have exceeded 100 km/h.
“It was scary. I have never seen such a thing before. Riders were struggling to keep their bikes on the road. They were blown into the air,” Liebenberg continued. He added that some riders were even blown off their bikes. “We were still hoping to ride though,” he said. It was at 06:38 on Saturday morning that the call was made by the organisers to cancel the event.
“When the rumour started going around everybody was just standing there in total disbelief. Everybody was just busy on their phone,” Liebenberg said. Although he is disappointed, he hopes to take part in next year’s race again.
The cancellation was further explained: “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.”