Cape Town - The 35 000 entrants in Sunday's Cape Town Cycle Tour will not be refunded after organisers cancelled the race due to extreme weather conditions.
WATCH: Cyclist blown backwards by epic Cape Town winds!
The 109km race was called off at 06:38 on Sunday after it was originally shortened to 78km due to "protest action unrelated to the Cape Town Cycle Tour and damage to the road-surface on the route".
Several groups of elite riders had taken to the startline from 06:15 onwards, but due to high winds on the Foreshore - and along the route, reaching as high as 100km/h in some places - it was decided to take the unprecedented decision to cancel the 40th edition of the race.
Race director David Bellairs addressed the media at a press conference on Sunday (watch below) and confirmed that the 2017 race will not be rescheduled, but will go ahead in 2018 as planned.
Bellairs also confirmed that no refunds will be given as stated in the rules of the event where cancellations for safety reasons are concerned.
According to the official Cape Town Cycle Tour website, over and above the costs incurred by flights and accommodation, South African entrants paid R510 to secure their spot in the field (R480 for Pedal Power Association members).
International entrants are charged based on their country of origin, with fees starting at R1 000.
Full statement from Cape Town Cycle Tour organisers:
It is with great regret that at 06:38 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.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust wishes to extend its immense gratitude and thanks to the City of Cape Town and all those services involved at our JOC in Tygerberg. This includes Disaster Management Services, the Events Office of the City of Cape Town, Fire and Safety, Traffic Authorities and Metro Police as well as our medical services, Mediclinic, the Provincial EMS and South African Police Services. These relationships have been developed over many years and it is in times of crisis that the measure of these relationships are truly tested. I would particularly like to single out the Executive Director of Safety and Security, Mr Richard Bosman as well as the Executive Mayor’s office for the tremendous support under these trying circumstances.
To all our sponsors, who have backed our decision 100%, our eternal gratitude for your understanding and support. Lastly, to the participants who have invested time, effort and resources in getting to the start line, our heartfelt thanks - ultimately this decision was made in the interests of your safety. To the Rotary Clubs and volunteers who have been standing on the route in difficult conditions, we appreciate your tireless effort and sacrifice.
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. We encourage the public wishing to donate to please contact Thula Thula in Hout Bay to donate non-perishable goods. They Mayor of Hout Bay has opened the Hout Bay Sports Centre in readiness to receive perishable goods for immediate distribution into the community.