South African Cycling

Why Cycle Tour isn’t shifted on calendar

2017-08-31 14:30
David Bellairs (Gallo)

Cape Town – The crucial availability of daylight hours is a major reason why the juggernaut annual Cape Town Cycle Tour remains rooted to an early March timeslot, despite the freakish wind that led to the abandonment of the 2017 event.

It was revealed at a media briefing here on Thursday that the start of next year’s Tour (March 11) is to be shifted to the Grand Parade precinct, in a bid to avoid the damaging “wind tunnel” effect that took root earlier this year in the more traditional area beneath the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard.

But David Bellairs, director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, told Sport24 there had been no thought to shifting it either modestly or more dramatically on the calendar.

“We’ve studied the wind roses (speed and directional measuring devices) that exist in and around the city over a period of months.

“The challenge we have with the Tour is having sufficient daylight hours to get people out on the roads, and get them finished.

“The further we move into autumn/winter, the fewer the daylight hours, the more limited time to have people on the road.

“If you look at the history … in the 40 years the event has run, and the 25 years I’ve been involved, we’ve had three years of (significant) wind, of which two have also been our safest Tours.

“In 2009, when we also had excessively high winds, it was one of our safest years ever.

“I’d like to believe, and do, that this year’s was an extraordinary occurrence. Touch wood, I don’t think we will see that kind of thing happening again.

“The reality is we were incredibly unfortunate. The Saturday (day before) was a fantastic day, and then even Sunday afternoon was also fine: we just had about five or six hours of the most horrendous wind howling through town.”

He added: “I don’t believe it is pertinent at this point to (consider shifting) the event. There is no statistical evidence to prove it is windier at that time of year … there is wind in the city of Cape Town; we live with the Cape Doctor.

“We make sure we adapt as best we can to deal with most wind eventualities.”

In mildly jocular vein, Bellairs said: “I know the City of Cape Town and the Province would love us to move it to winter, which is their quietest time (for tourism) but the reality it is has worked for 40 years in that space.

“We have had rain, wind and heat now, so we have pretty much (experienced) most seasons anyway.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    cape town cycle tour  |  cycling


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