The Cape Town Cycle Tour is owned and staged by the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust and it is the largest, timed cycling event in the world. It also celebrates its 40th year in 2017 when, on the morning of Sunday, 12 March, 35 000 cyclists will line up to ride the 109km route through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery that includes the iconic Table Mountain as a backdrop. The main beneficiaries of the Cape Town Cycle Tour are the Pedal Power Association (PPA) and Rotary Club of Claremont, which are equal stakeholders in the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust (CTCTT) owns and stages the Cape Town Cycle Tour and, in doing so, carries out all day-to-day operational requirements of the annual event.
Registered in December 1999, the CTCTT is served by 12 Trustees who are elected every three years. Six members are appointed by the Rotary Club of Claremont and six are from the PPA. Chairmanship of the Trust alternates between a representative from the PPA and Rotary each year, while the Chairman has to be an active Trustee. The Trust is audited annually to ensure complete transparency to all parties concerned and in keeping with its status as a Public Benefit Organisation.
The management team at the CTCTT office is responsible for the successful implementation of all elements of the Cycle Tour and sub-events. Heads of the various departments make up the main management committee and report to the Operations Director, Renee’ Jordaan and Marketing, Media and Sponsorship Director, David Bellairs.
The successful annual staging of the Cycle Tour and its sub-events enables the Trust to source funds for its two beneficiaries, the PPA and Rotary Club of Claremont, which apply the proceeds for community projects and the development and promotion of cycling. It also provides a viable publicity mechanism for all event sponsors and partners.
A key component of the Cycle Tour is that it must satisfy the ‘triple bottom line’ of Social Equity, Environmental Sustainability and Financial Responsibility. The tour was the first cycling event in the world to incorporate a comprehensive Environmental Management Plan. Today, the International Cycling Union requires all events under its auspices to have a similar plan.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour injects some R500 million into the Western Cape economy every year, but even more significant is the millions it raises for welfare and the impact this has on the needy both regionally and beyond. The main beneficiaries of the Cycle Tour are the Pedal Power Association (PPA) and Rotary Club of Claremont, which are equal stakeholders in the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, the organisers of the annual event. Rotary and the PPA share around R9 million of the proceeds between them, thanks to those who participate in this iconic event.
The PPA and the Rotary Club of Claremont plough these funds back into numerous organisations in local communities, including schools; children’s homes; skills development programmes and cycling development projects.
Pedal Power Association Projects
PPA Project News
Over the last four years, the Pedal Power Association has invested just under R7-million in over 120 cycling-related projects. Click here for details.
Rotary Club of Claremont Projects
In addition to funding the Club’s own projects with their share of the Cycle Tour proceeds, the Rotary Club of Claremont also distribute a portion of the funds to other Rotary Clubs in the district. These are just some of the projects that benefited. Please click here for more information.
Christine Revell Children’s Home The Christine Revell Children’s Home is located in the heart of Athlone, it is a registered NPO which cares for 49 abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned babies between birth up to six years of age.
The CRCH strives to nurture and develop children in need and work towards their successful re-integration into a family and the community. The CRCH provides full time care for the children. There are 29 staff members who work in shifts caring for the children. They are also volunteers who come from universities and organizations locally and overseas to help with the children. They come to simply help us or to gain experience for their studies.The CRCH runs several programmes in an attempt to develop all the children in a holistic way and to their maximum capacity. Due to limited government subsidies there was insufficient funds to do urgent repairs and supply certain basic needs.
The Rotary Club of Claremont contributed R66,000 which enabled the CRCH to repaint the Babies bedrooms and bathrooms, replace worn flooring with tiles, supply built in-cupboarding and new bed linen and towelling for the children.
MAD The Rotary Club of Claremont first became involved with MAD (Make A Difference Foundation) in 2009, when the Club embraced MAD’s Smart Brain Project – a literacy programme directed at benefitting children from disadvantaged communities.
MAD currently supports some 74 full scholarship academically talented learners and some 330 learners who benefit from various broad-based educational programmes like “Smart Brain.” To date more than 1 700 learners have benefitted from MAD programmes, the highest achiever being Spencer Horne, a disadvantaged youngster from a single parent home in Kuilsrivier, who is currently studying Engineering at Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.
The MAD Foundation evolved from the tremendous inspiration which Francois Pienaar, the victorious 1995 RWC Springbok Captain, drew from his terminally ill Coach and Mentor, the late Kitch Christie.
Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital The newly established SACS Interact Club, associated to the Rotary Club of Claremont, organised and assisted at the Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital in Silvertown/Athlone Cape Town. About 25 of the learners from SACS High School donned their work clothes for a day and proceeded to get their hands dirty by completing a number of maintenance and repair type jobs in and around the Hospital .
The Sarah Fox Hospital is a 60 bed facility, the only convalescent hospital for children in the Western Cape, aims to provide proffessional care to allow patients a full recovery after critical treatment for such conditions as Burns, HIV/Aids , TB , motor vehicle accidents , effects of malnutrition , surgery etc .
The learners weeded, composted and replanted a variety of vegetable seedlings for the hospitals’ veggie tunnel so that they can harvest fresh veggies in the summer months to come . An assortment of cabbage , broccoli, spinach and beetroot was planted . In addition, the painting team washed down classroom walls and windows, did some sanding and painting of doors and door frames as well as some scrubbing of floors and bathrooms!
Fraai Viooltjies Play Group The Fraai Viooltjies Play Group provide daycare facilities to some 90 children from the community of Suurbraak.
The Swellendam Rotary Club donated a brand new jungle gym to the school.
Learn to Earn Learn to Earn, an organisation that helps individuals develop sustainable vocational and business skills.
A R20 000 donation from the Newlands Rotary Club was invested in training programmes, including computer design, sewing and Baking for Profit courses.
These programmes empower those who successfully graduate from their training to start their own small businesses or enhance their chances of being employed.
Lawrence House Lawrence House, home to about 30 refugee children – most of them orphaned.
A R15 000 donation enabled the Kirstenbosch Rotary Club to provide children with recreational facilities including a jungle gym and trampoline – giving them the opportunity to be outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise!
Ocean View Secondary School The Ocean View Secondary School cycling team is one of the success stories of the school and has done a tremendous amount to increase school and community spirit.
The school has a limited number of bicycles and helmets, donated by the Rotary Club of Claremont with the help of the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN). Learners earn a seat on one of these bicycles and a place on the school cycling team by doing a variety of tasks and displaying good behaviour.
Over 45 learners represented Ocean View Secondary School at the 2007 and 2008 Cycle Tours, and residents lined the street to support their children, friends and neighbours as they cycled past.
Ocean View Secondary has received over R140 000 in assistance since 2006 – which also includes the establishment of two computer labs at the school – and an additional R200 000 is currently being utilised to launch a mental health and wellness programme called MindMatters, aimed at dealing with interpersonal issues, depression and other problems that impact on schools.
Every year, around 150 individuals from disadvantaged communities help to ensure that the Cape Town Cycle Tour route is returned to its former pristine condition, after the event.
On race day, these teams – managed by the Oostenberg and other Rotary Clubs – are stationed at refreshment stations and other points along the route, and later also follow the sweep vehicles to clean the route from start to finish.
They aim to clear the 65 cubic metres of rubbish generated by the tour’s 35,000 riders and its supporters within 36 hours, in order to comply with the Cycle Tour’s Environmental Management Plan (EMP).
And as two-thirds of the route runs through a National Park and World Heritage Site, the plan also looks at every other environmental impact the tour could have from noise pollution, helicopter flight paths, fire risks, traffic management and structural safety, to ensure that everybody working on the cycle route is properly briefed.
The multi-faceted EMP ensures that every measure is taken to take care of the environment and ensure the safety of cyclists, and it makes the Cycle Tour one of the most environmentally friendly events in South Africa.
DID YOU KNOW: The Cape Town Cycle Tour was the first cycling event in the world to incorporate a comprehensive EMP? Today, the International Cycling Union requires all events under its auspices to have a similar plan.
Cycling is generally considered to be one of the greenest sports and as the largest timed cycling race on earth, the organisers of the event – The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust – it is proud of its “Stash Your Trash” campaign. As with any big sporting event, the tour is faced with the ever increasing issue of litter. An estimated 70 000 energy gel sachets are dropped on the road during this annual event. This is further exacerbated by the hot summer sun and thousands of sets of wheels. Large percentages of these sachets unfortunately also end up in the hands of the Chacma Baboons, with potentially devastating effects on their well-being.
The “Stash Your Trash” campaign encourages cyclists to hang onto their empty sachets and energy bar wrappers until they are able to deposit them in the “Stash Your Trash” bins along the route. Without exception, all the suppliers of energy gels and bars have endorsed and are fully supportive of this worthy initiative.
In 1977 Bill Mylrea and John Stegmann, who are credited with being the visionaries and moving spirits behind the Cycle Tour, organised the Big Ride-In to draw attention to the need for cycle paths in Cape Town. The Ride-In, which was held under the auspices of the then newly founded Western Province Pedal Power Association (now Pedal Power Association) was a great success and attracted hundreds of cyclists, including the Mayor of Cape Town. The cyclists met on the Grand Parade and rode down Adderley Street to the Foreshore. Out of this the idea of holding a long-distance ride, to be known as the Peninsula Marathon, was born. The Western Province Pedal Power Association (WPPPA) warned would-be riders that it would not be easy, stating that “a good two months preparation is recommended”.
By the following year The Argus, Cape Town’s largest newspaper, agreed to sponsor the “Argus Cycle Tour”. The inaugural event was held on 28 October 1978 and attracted 525 entrants, 446 of whom finished with an estimated 14 finishing in under 3:30. The event started outside the Castle in Strand Street and finished in Camps Bay, a distance of 104km.
According to reports, “It was hoped that the SADF would fire one of Van Riebeeck’s cannons for us from the Castle wall, possibly the first firing in history. Despite the numerous cannons lying about, they were only prepared to let off a ‘thunder flash’. A cast-iron pipe was found to imitate a cannon and flour was used for smoke. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, flag down. . . . and not a squeak from the Castle! By 07h30 everyone was better prepared. Two thunder flashes in the cannon and Hugh Dale next to the flag with his starter’s pistol. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, flag down and KA-BOOM from the Castle with flame and smoke, followed immediately by a second KA-BOOM which blew the cannon to pieces! What a relief to hear that there were no casualties. With that, the first group, the ‘recreationals’ set off at 07h00. The next group (registered riders), left 10 minutes later, caught them on Eastern Boulevard!” The winner was Lawrence Whittaker, Chairman of WPPPA/PPA from 1988 to 1999, in a time of 3:02:25.4. The first woman home was Janice Theis in a time of 4:35:0. The oldest woman to finish was Peggi Kensley. Interestingly, a ‘super machine’ at that time cost R300 to R500 and a standard 10-speed tourer R100 new or R50 to R75 second hand. Pepsi Cola provided refreshments.
Captour requested WPPPA to move the date of the tour to coincide with the Cape Town Festival. Six months later, on 21 April 1979, the second Argus Cycle Tour was staged attracting nearly double the number of entrants (999) with over 100 under the age of 15 and 760 finishing. Hans Degenaar won in 2:52:38. Janice Theis knocked nearly an hour off her time, winning the ladies section in 3:36:46.
With an entry of 1398 (1119 finishers) the tour was advertised as “the biggest cycle race in the Southern Hemisphere”! By now the event was attracting some of the top riders. Springbok cyclist, Hennie Wentzel won this year, in a time of 3:02:18.
To cut down on congestion at the on-ramp to Eastern Boulevard, the start was moved to Hertzog Boulevard, where it has remained to this day. Entries rose to 1 669 (1 372 finishers) and there were 4 start groups. A Radio League network provided information from points along the course and finishers received a certificate, listing their name, age and finish time.
The event was growing bigger each year, stretching the organisational capacity of owners WPPPA. An agreement with the Rotary Club of Claremont to take on the organisation of the tour was entered into, enabling Rotary to use the tour as a vehicle for raising funds for community projects. This arrangement continued until 2000 when the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust was formed, with Claremont Rotary involving more and more Rotary Clubs as the event grew. Coca-Cola became the official cold drink provider.
Mark Pinder, an un-registered UCT engineering student, caused a major upset recording the fastest time of the day of 3:01:25, a minute faster than Ertjies Bezuidenhout, the first registered rider. The tour was held on 20 March and it is recorded that the southeaster played havoc with bannering at the start. Unfortunately this is not the only time this has happened!
Entries broke the 2 000 barrier with 238 finished in under 3:30 and 50 riders cracked a sub-3hr – no mean feat when you remember that the winning time three years earlier was 3:02.
2373 people entered and 2023 (85%) finished before the cut-off time, the highest percentage to finish since the tour’s inception.
There was great excitement when entries topped the 3000 mark at 3008 riders with 2445 finishers. The ladies got faster and faster each year as proven by Louise van Riet Lowe who won in 3:04:36, only 2 minutes slower than the overall winning time in the first tour!
1986 was the year of the records. Ertjies Bezuidenhout established the record for the 104km course at 2:40:20. Lawrence Whittaker (winner of the first tour) was the fastest non-registered rider in 2:43:58. Barely a year after taking up cycling, Cathy Carstens recorded a record-breaking time of 2:49:55. Cathy dominated the women’s race for the next five years, recording five consecutive wins.
The 10th anniversary Tour and the year of the storm. Entries grew by 2500 to 5934 and surprisingly, 4761 finished in conditions that were the worst in its 10-year history. It was cool but dry at the start with a strong Northwest wind blowing. Cyclists did not feel the chill factor until heading North from the Cape Point Reserve – and then came the deluge – heavy rain, high winds and extreme cold. Organisers called on the Navy to assist pick up the stragglers and tail enders. Miraculously the most serious injury was a broken leg. Hennie Wentzel recorded his third win in 2:43:05. Cathy Carstens’ time was 3:03:24. A magazine was sent to participants for the first time this year. It is recorded that ‘there will be five refreshment points with water and Coke provided’.
1988 saw the introduction of a number of new innovations. M-Net joined The Argus as a co-sponsor and the event became known as The Argus M-Net Cycle Tour for the next 3 years; the tour received TV coverage for the first time; Digitron came on board and remained the IT sponsor until 1999; and Claremont Rotary appointed a project secretary to manage the entry process. Lloyd Wright, on a recumbent, surprised the TV crews finishing in 2:33:03 – so much so that they asked him to cross the line again for the cameras. Willie Engelbrecht recorded his first of five Cycle Tour wins in 2:36:54. By now the number of start groups had risen to 12 and both lanes on Hertzog Boulevard were used for the first time.
Entries were limited to 12000 this year, but 12802 managed to enter. Conditions on Camps Bay Main Road had become too crowded and the finish was moved to Maiden’s Cove, adding an extra kilometre to the course. The VIP log appeared in the magazine for the first time, thanks to James Reid who has tracked details of participants from inception.
While posted in the past, cyclists were asked to collect their race packs for the first time in the history of the tour. Registration took place at Camps Bay High School, causing some serious traffic flow problems on Kloof Nek. Safety helmets became compulsory this year and the tour was moved from a Saturday to a Sunday. There were 22 start groups of which some ‘stacked’ in the Heerengracht for the first time. 4.5 km of fencing was used at the start and finish. For the third consecutive year, Willie Engelbrecht was the first registered rider; Lloyd Wright the fastest overall on his recumbent; and Cathy Carstens the first lady home – a hat trick!
Pick ‘n Pay came on board as naming rights sponsors and the event became the Argus/Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour. The first Expo and Registration took place in the SA Maritime Museum in the Waterfront. Substitutions were allowed for the first time. The Tour de France commentator, Phil Liggett, joined the M-Net team and by now entries topped 15000 and seven other Rotary Clubs assisted the Rotary Club of Claremont. Coca-Cola advised that 10000 litres of Coke were consumed on the course and it cost R14.79 to put a cyclist on the road, excluding timing, which was sponsored by Digitron. The 1991 magazine also pays tribute to the support of organisations such as Red Cross, St John’s and Metro Ambulance; 4-Wheel Drive Club and REACT (radio network); Nomads Motorcycle Club and last, but by no means least, the Traffic Police and local authorities. Weather conditions were ideal for cycling and for the first time a sub-2hr30 was recorded by Robbie McIntosh who won the race in a time of 2:28:46. Springbok triathlete Rene Scott broke the ladies record with her time of 2:44:40.
1992 saw the introduction of the Giro del Capo, a 4-stage race for professional and leading registered riders that culminated in the Cycle Tour. The prize fund for the first event was R15 000, the winner of the first Giro being Andrew McLean, who went on to win four times, the last being in 1997. A new seeding system, based on index was introduced. Previously cyclists were seeded on their best time recorded during the past 3 events. The index calculation, position/number of finishers x 100 was used until the 2001 Tour (see 2001).
Ideal weather conditions helped Wimpie van der Merwe, runner up in the inaugural event, record an incredible 2:16:40 on his recumbent. The Tour was highlighted in Cape Town’s bid for the 2004 Olympic Games, with representatives from NOCSA attending. The LifeCycle Expo/Registration moved to A-Berth in Duncan Dock, where it remained until 1996, while the ‘Giro’ was attracting more and more international interest. As a result, a foreign rider, Ilia Souprounov from Kazakhstan, featured in the placings for the first time. He was runner up to Wayne Burgess, the first amateur to win in a decade, in a time of 2:33:35. Yellow numbers for cyclists who had completed 10 Tours were introduced. As a result of the success of the new indexing system, the results of four other events from around the country were used for seeding in addition to past Tours.
Entries passed the 20 000-mark, 400 of which were from outside South Africa. By now there were 28 start groups and the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust organisers had run out of letters of the alphabet so that ‘#’, ‘$’ and ‘%’ signs were used to distinguish different groups and some start pens were used twice. The Giro attracted 70-odd internationals and, courtesy of Pick ‘n Pay, the prize money has increased to R50 000.
With near-perfect weather conditions, records tumble. ‘Super Swede’ Michael Andersson broke the 105 course record in 2:22:56, closely followed by Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan. Andersson also won the Giro this year, putting a stop to Andrew McLean’s winning streak. Entries increased by 5000 to 25313, 21% of which were from ladies. Energade became the sponsor of the official sports drink and Medi-Clinic joined the team, providing the invaluable medical back up still enjoyed today. Coca Cola supplied 20 000 litres of Coke, 30 000 litres of water and 2 000 kg of ice. More and more requests to consider Green Point as a finish venue were received this year. With the ever-increasing numbers, Maiden’s Cove was proving too small. By 1995 the cost of putting a cyclist on the road had risen to R20.56 (excluding timing).
Entrants this year included then Premier of the Free State, Patrick Lekota and Eddy Merckx, five time winner of the Tour de France, who in 1969 took all the prizes, including overall winner, king of the mountains and best placing in the various stages. The Dutch pair of Henry Brokers and his blind partner, Olympian Jan Mulder, won the tandem category in 2:51:21. Jan went on to participate in 8 Cycle Tours, winning the ‘Blind’ tandem category on each occasion. 42 countries were represented on the start line and the Giro attracted 14 international teams. The magazine that year contained a letter from Geoff Cox, who was cycling across Siberia. Geoff’s knowledge of Russian was almost non-existent but he was able to communicate with a fellow cyclist who had brought Giro teams to South Africa, with the Cycle Tour as common ground! The LifeCycle Expo and registration moved to the Good Hope Centre, having outgrown A-berth.
The 20th tour attracted over 30 000 entrants. The Argus newspaper changed its name to Cape Argus, which resulted in the Tour being, renamed the Cape Argus/Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour and a new logo incorporated an outline of Table Mountain. A prologue was added to the Giro del Capo, bringing the total number of stages to five. Anriette Schoeman, who would go on to win four consecutive Tours in 2000/1/2/3, came second to Erica Green in the ladies race.
The Big Ride by ex-Cape Argus editor-in-chief, Andrew Drysdale, was published to commemorate the ‘coming of age’ of the Cycle Tour. 1998 also celebrated the 21st Anniversary of the WPPPA whose name changed to the Pedal Power Association (PPA). LifeCycle Week, incorporating events such as the children’s Tricycle Tour, was introduced this year and all cyclists received medals for the first time. Club 21 (for cyclists who have done 21 Tours) was founded under the chairmanship of Stephen Stefano. There were 11 refreshment stations in 1998 and the magazine noted that ‘were Coke petrol, a small car could have used it to travel from Cape to Cairo at least 128 times’.
By now the event had outgrown Maiden’s Cove. However, taking cyclists through Clifton and Bantry Bay in race mode was considered too dangerous so it was decided to leave the finish line at Maiden’s Cove and move the carnival to Green Point. This brought a mixed reaction; some people enjoyed the ‘warm down’ while others felt there was no atmosphere at the finish. Winning Time was contracted to do the transponder timing and Kingsley Technologies provided IT back up. An online entry system was available to overseas entries. It was estimated that the cost of putting a cyclist on the road had increased to +/- R100 and Coke handed out 110 000 litres of product.
The new millennium brought a number of changes. Pedal Power Association and the Rotary Club of Claremont joined forces to establish the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, six representatives from each organisation, and the Tour became the property of the Trust. An Events Office was established to run the Tour and along with the new millennium came a new look logo. From the participants’ point of view, the most devastating change was to the route. Rock falls on Chapman’s Peak had resulted in the tragic death of a young woman. Mountain fires caused more damage and the authorities had no option but to close ‘Chappies’. A route taking cyclists over Constantia Nek to Hout Bay was considered but after much deliberation it was decided to bring them back along the Blue Route, through the city centre to Green Point on a Detour Course, as it was known, a distance of 109 km. Online entries were accepted and DataSport were the IT partners this year. For the first time the Giro became a separate entity, starting a day earlier and ending the day before the Cycle Tour. Participants were invited to compete in the Invitation Race, which started ahead of the Tour. Morne Bester (2:39:35) and Anriette Schoeman (2:57:34) were the first winners on the new course.
Chapman’s Peak remained closed. Winter rains had caused even more rock falls and predictions were that it was not likely to be open for another year or two. The Giro del Capo celebrated its 10th birthday, changing the traditional yellow leader’s jersey to pink. The Cycle Tour joined the ranks of the UCI Golden Bike Series, raising the profile of the Tour internationally, with South Africa the first country outside of Europe to be included on the Golden Bike calendar. A new IT partner, Ebit Technologies, was contracted. Index was calculated on time in relation to winning time, as opposed to overall position – the calculation being – 100 – (winning time/cyclist’s time x 100). A full scale Joint Operation Centre (JOC) was formed. The JOC comprised representatives from the SA Police, Traffic Departments, Disaster Management, Metro Ambulance Service, Metro Rescue, City of Cape Town Transport & Planning, Medi-Clinic and the organisers. An added benefit to cyclists was the introduction of a bicycle transport system, provided by Prism. The finish carnival area was redesigned to improve flow through the bike park to the carnival. SuperSport Zone managed the website and 25 000 people entered online. In 2001, it cost R172.30 to put a cyclist on the road. By now, the cost of ‘spending a penny’ had risen to R2.62.
For the first time in its 25-year history, the Tour had to be stopped. Weather predictions for the day were ‘fine and warm, with a maximum temperature of 28 degrees’, whereas temperatures of 42 degrees were reached on parts of the course. Despite 132 000 litres of Coke, 45 000 litres of Energade and over 60 000 litres of water being consumed, heat stroke, heat-related injuries and dehydration became an ever-increasing problem. On the recommendation of the medical team, the Tour was stopped at Ou Kaapse Weg at approximately 14h45. Drawing on experience gained in 2001, a better-equipped JOC managed the disaster management plan which kicked into gear and approximately 2000 cyclists and their bicycles were brought back to Green Point on buses and trucks. 2002 saw the introduction of corporate bonds. 250 entries were donated to the Ministry of Sport and the South African Cycling Federation to provide cyclists of all socio-economic levels the opportunity of participating in the Tour. TV coverage went live on air and the winners’ trophies were awarded at the finish line for the first time.
For the first tim in the tour’s history, an environmental management plan was implemented; the Cycle Tour became the first sporting event to align itself with the Proudly South African campaign; and the Mountain Bike Challenge, hosted by Spier, was introduced. Charles Brand (84) and Mary Warner (76) became the oldest man and woman ever to complete the Tour.
Perfect weather conditions and records for the Ou Kaapse Weg course tumbled! Malcolm Lange came home in 2:29:59 and Anriette Schoeman recorded her 4th consecutive win in 2:54:02. The Bike Park moved to the Green Point stadium; a system of tracking emergency vehicles by satellite was introduced into the VOC (formerly JOC) and the Sport Science Institute undertook a research survey on hydration. The venue for the Mountain Bike Challenge successfully moved to Boschendal and, for the first time, the event was marketed internationally.
It was back to Chappies! After four years on the ‘Detour’ route, Chapman’s Peak was finally open. The news sparked a veritable frenzy – online entries opened and closed within 65 online hours and those fortunate enough to be in close proximity to Rondebosch Post Office managed to get their ‘postal’ entries in within a week of opening by handing them in over the counter! There were 1697 international entrants with representatives from all five continents. Miguel Indurain, 5 times winner of the Tour de France, riding with the Laureus Foundation group, recorded 3:20:59. Antonio Salomone (2:23:23) and Anke Erlank (2:49:23) set the course records.
Winds of more than 40km/h were recorded at places. There were a number changes to this year’s event. The Invitation Race was dropped and the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle reverted to being the last stage of the Giro del Capo resulting in the total prize money being in excess of R 300 000. A new two-stage entry system was introduced whereby entrants applied to enter and were given guaranteed entry status if they met certain criteria. For the first time since inception, we had live coverage on the national broadcaster, SATV having come on board as the TV partner. Coverage started at 6h00, with crossings throughout the day, ending at 14h30. The highlights package went out the following week – a total of more than 7 hours coverage to an audience of over 1 million in the first year of the agreement.
A medal for those riders who did the 55 km mountain bike challenge and then the Cycle Tour a week later was introduced to encourage people to do all the events. The total number of mountain bike entrants increased to over 1500.
Another change was the introduction of the Hand Cycle Race, with prize money of R20 000 at stake. This was won by our own Ernst van Dyk (3h21m10s), second, Cefas Bouman (3h50m15s) from the Netherlands and in third place Rudolf Thomi (4h43m.23s) from Switzerland. The total number of foreign participants exceeded 2000 for the first time since inception. Russell Downing of the UK won in 2:37:50 and Anke Erlank again won the ladies race in a time of 3:00:19. Japie Malan (85) and Mary Warner (79) were the oldest people ever to complete the Tour.
2006 saw the introduction of special start groups for racing Veterans and Masters. The cool weather and light rain resulted in a faster tour, the average speed being approximately 10 minutes faster than in 2005. Entries from the UK and Europe increased substantially with over 500 entrants from the UK alone. The tour was won by Steffen Radochla in a time of 2:34:28 while Anriette Schoeman recorded her fifth win in a time of 2:59:08. The ‘Golden Oldies’, Japie Malan (86) and Mary Warner (80) both finished well within the required time. Laureus Awardee, Ernst van Dyk again won the Hand Cycle Race.
Our 30th birthday and near perfect weather, resulting in a reduction in the accident rate and an avalanche of favourable feedback! Three cycling greats participated this year: Jan Ullrich, Greg LeMond and Steven Rooks – all names synonymous with the Tour de France. Jan came to do the Tour in support of a charity initiative, Race4Change and ex-Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar and ex-Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe rode tandem in support of the Make-A-Difference foundation. We honoured the ‘Magnificent Seven’: Neil Bramwell, Louis de Waal, Steph du Toit, Gareth Holmes, Stephen Stefano, Alec Stewart and Neville Yeo, the seven riders who had done all tours since inception; and celebrated a local victory with Robert Hunter taking line honours in a time of 2:32:36, closely followed by Steffen Radochla and Malaya Van Ruitenbeek. Anke Moore (Erlank) broke her previous course record, finishing in 2:48:29. Japie Malan (87), the oldest man ever to finish the Tour, and Clare Graaff (77) were the oldest finishers, Clare having completed her 17th Tour. International entries continued to grow, comfortably topping the 2000 mark.
Robert Hunter shaved just short of 5 minutes off the course record to finish in 2:27:29 with 18-year old Cherise Taylor, the youngest woman to win the 109 km distance, leading the ladies in 2:50:51 and Ernst van Dyk breaking his own record to finish the Hand Cycle race in 3:15:29. The perfect weather made for one of the most successful Tours ever. The Invitation Race was reinstated, with the MTN Giro del Capo ending on the Saturday before the Tour. Entries for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge exceeded 3 500 with 679 cyclists completing the 55 km distance as well as the Tour, an increase of just on 200 from 2007. Walter Hein (84) and Clare Graaff (78) were the oldest finishers, Walter having done his first Cycle Tour in 2005, two days after his 82nd birthday.
2009 presented a number of challenges, not least of all the day itself! In the months leading up to the event we were faced with the uncertainty of whether the Tour would be able to go over Chappies, having to divert cyclists over Boyes Drive with its inherent safety problems and potential changes to the finish layout, to name but a few. And then the day dawned! Never in the 32 year history of the Tour have we experienced conditions like these – fences blown down, banners ripped to shreds, debris flying all over the place. No need to go to the toilet, this year, the porta potties came to you! Just to get started cyclists had to dismount from their bicycles and push hard to pass under the Civic Centre Tower block with winds up to 100kmph. This delayed the start by an hour. Nearly 30 000 braved the start and just under 27 000 finished. The race was eventually stopped at Chappies at 16:30 and the cut off time extended to 8 hrs, because of extreme wind conditions. The medics, marshals and all the other volunteer support teams earned nothing but praise for the sterling job they did in the most trying of conditions. At the end of the day there were no serious injuries and by the Wednesday practically all those taken to hospital had been discharged.
This tour was won by Arran Brown in a time of 2:46:32, closely followed by Robbie Hunter and Nolan Hoffman. Jennie Stenerhag took line honours in 3:06:01 in the Ladies Race, narrowly beating Anriette Schoeman in a dramatic sprint finish. The winning time was 3:06:01 with Marissa van der Merwe in third place.
The Tour de Lance! More wind – and we thought it couldn’t happen two years in a row. Gale force winds again presented challenges to both cyclists and organisers. With construction still under way in the area surrounding the new Cape Town stadium, the finish area became a veritable dust bowl. Lance Armstrong created a stir when he announced via Twitter that he would be participating in the Cycle Tour, resulting in an increase of spectator support. Other celebrities included Gabriella Sabatini and Hugo Porta, riding in support of the Laureus Foundation. As 2010 was the year of the FIFA World Cup, the Cape Town stadium was featured on the medal. It also heralded the introduction of medals for those who had done 10 and 21 Tours. The Cycle Tour was won by Malcolm Lange in a time of 2:39:55 with Anriette Schoeman taking line honours in 3:06:11, her sixth win. Japie Malan, age 90, retained his record of being the oldest man to finish, completed the Tour in 6:48:52 with Wendy Haltmann (75) finishing in 7:17:00, the cut off time having been extended because of the extreme weather conditions.
After two years of wind, the organising team nervously watched the weather forecast as Race Day got nearer. Messages via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter were united in their plea: “Please organise a windless day.” And as dawn broke on Sunday morning, 13 March, not a breath of wind could be detected at the start or finish line. The day remained perfect, providing ideal riding conditions for all participants. Tyler Day and Cherise Taylor established course records for the 110 km course, incorporating Boyes Drive, in times of 2:32:10 and 2:49:45 respectively, while over 5000 riders finished in under 3:30. The number of charity groups increased from 7 in 2010 to 27 this year, their bright jerseys providing a colourful element to the middle of the field. Walter Hein (87) in 5:07:01 and Marie-Louise Swoboda (75) in 5:32:33 were the ‘golden oldies’ this year. And all of the Magnificent Seven finished.
Following perfect riding conditions in 2011 (after two years of extreme wind), the organisers and riders were hoping for another race day marked by favourable temperatures and a light cooling breeze. Unfortunately that was not to be, as early indications of hot weather became a reality and the mercury rose to 42˚C in some sections of the route, exactly 10 years after the race was stopped for the first time in its history in 2002. The organisers, race doctor and disaster management team kept a close eye on the situation and did not have to stop the race this time around. Reinart Janse van Rensburg sprinted to a blistering 2:36:17 finish – the 23 year old’s first Cycle Tour win while, in the elite ladies’ race, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio claimed her first ever Cycle Tour victory in a time of 2:52:24.
The 2012 Cycle Tour also saw the return of cycling legends, Tour de France greats – and Cycle Tour fans – Stephen Roche, Miguel Indurain and Eddy Merckx, while Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille donned their own cycling kit to join in the fun. After crashing out of the race in 2011, Japie Malan (92) reclaimed his title as oldest participant, finishing on a tandem with his son in 5:50:40. Maisie Swoboda (76) not only won her age group, but was also crowned the oldest lady to finish the Cycle Tour, completing her 28th Cycle Tour with a sprained ankle.
Having seen the successes achieved by large international sporting events like the London & New York Marathons that allow charities to use their events for fundraising, the organisers encouraged charities and social investment projects to enter by purchasing specially allocated charity bonds. Over 70 charities took up this offer and enjoyed tremendous support from over 4,000 riders who opted to ride for a worthy cause.
In 2014, the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour was officially renamed the Cape Town Cycle Tour in recognition of the its global status and international appeal. The new name and logo was officially unveiled by the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust (CTCTT), in association with the event’s three co-naming rights sponsors, Cape Argus, Pick n Pay and Momentum, at a prestigious launch event held in Cape Town on 23 September. Speaking at the event, Steve Hayward, Chairman of the CTCTT, took guests through the history of the tour saying: “The Cape Town Cycle Tour is Africa’s premier cycling event. It has grown from humble beginnings, attracting only a few hundred cyclists who participated in the first tour as a protest ride, to the worlds’ largest timed cycle race. The event has enjoyed a remarkable journey over the past 37 years, and the new name and logo revealed tonight is testament to our coming of age as we move into the next phase to becoming one of the worlds’ most desirable participation sporting events.”
On 9 March, and prior to the name change, Nolan Hoffman from Team Abantu clinched the coveted first place in the 37th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour, clocking an impressive time of 2:39:01 despite wind speeds of up to 83km/h at the start. Merone Hagos, an Eritrean rider from Team MTN Qhubeka Feeder followed in second place, with HB Kruger from Team Bonitas taking third place in a hard-fought battle for podium spots.
In the ladies race, Cherise Stander from Team RECM claimed the gold medal with a time of 02:51:00, holding off stiff competition from Anriëtte Schoeman of Team Bestmed Africa Silks while Team Active Drinks’ An-Li Kachehoffer came in third.
A new addition to the 2014 event was the Alain Huchon trophy for the first, non-licensed international rider that crossed the finish line and Joachim Pettersen from Norway became its first recipient with a time of 02:50:51.
The week before CTCT 2015, devastating Southern Peninsula fires closed sections of the traditional 109km route, threatening the event with cancellation.
On 4 March 2015 – just four days before Race Day – the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust and its key stakeholders agreed that the event’s comprehensive crisis plan would not suffice in these exceptional circumstances. Together with City and Provincial officials, the Trust decided to stage a unique, vastly shortened 47km circular route.
Named the “Show You Care Solidarity Ride”, the 2015 Cycle Tour served to unite all participants on the day to salute the Cape’s brave fire fighters and volunteers for their heroic efforts.
Exceptional resourcefulness and endless efforts to save the event were handsomely rewarded on the day when 35,000 riders helped to ensure that CTCT 2015 retained its position as the world’s largest timed cycling event.