Following a media briefing by the organisers of the 40th Cape Town Cycle Tour, it has been confirmed that the 35 000 cyclists who registered for the annual event will not be refunded their registration fees. The event was cancelled soon after the elite bunch opened the race due to strong winds that forced riders to take cover as they made their way under Civic Centre bridge. This after the route was originally shortened early on Sunday morning to 78 km due to damage to roads in certain sections along the route, as well as expected protest action in Masiphumelele. Winds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour have been predicted in and around Cape Town until tomorrow.
Speaking to VOC news, event director, David Bellairs says organisers will calculate the profits so far and donate it to charity.
Bellairs explains that after the race started at the planned time of 6:15 with the start of the elite bunch, a decision was taken by the Joint Operations Centre in Tygerberg, where the event is managed from, to cancel the event.
He confirms that the decision was based on severe weather conditions, planned protest action in Masiphumilele, and a fire on a section of the route.
Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Sunday, 12 March 2017
Given the fact that the cycle tour is an event that raises funds for charity, he says that cyclists when registering for the event understand the terms pertaining to the question of refunds.
“Any profit that is made goes into charitable surplus. There is a clause in the entry that says that if the event is cancelled no refunds will be made and that is effectively what happened,” Bellairs stated.
Bellairs further notes that since all expenses to the event have already been incurred, the refunding cyclists would not take place.
“We had people out on the route, everything was set up and running – water points were out. It’s just an extremely unfortunate situation it really is.”
While cyclists have trained for the event for months, he affirms that overwhelming the cyclists supported the decision to cancel the event and in the interest of safety “sensibility dictated” that safety concerns needed to be adhered to.
Bellairs says that while no bikes were damaged by the strong winds, one cyclist was injured after being blown off his bike in the tunnel under the Cape Town Civic Centre and is believed to be treated for a fractured rib.
Having been involved in the event for the past 27 years, Bellairs describes his emotion at the cancellation of the event as heartbroken, saying that it has been “emotionally draining.”
“There is a large team that spent an entire year putting this all together; there has been an incredible expo, we had a mountain bike event and a junior event, [so]its heart-breaking to pull the plug on something literally as it is about to unfold,” Bellairs continued.
Meanwhile, cyclist Ihsaan Shaik says that while he supports the decision to cancel the event, he “feels for the foreigners” who forked out thousands to participate in the popular event.
“I am feeling it for the foreigners, so if they can just do half price next year. What do they do next year if 35000 people decide they not going to enter again then the [cycle tour]is no more – it’s quite a substantial amount for some people,” Shaik stated.