On Sunday, gale force winds in Cape Town, South Africa, forced the largest timed bike race in the world to be canceled as cyclists were blown off their bikes by winds over 60 miles per hour, according to Daily News:
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 12, 2017
Approximately 35,000 riders were entered to take part in the 40th edition of the Pick n’ Pay Cape Town Cycle Tour this year, but the event had to be called off less than 30 minutes after its start due to the heavy winds which resulted in at least one rider being taken off the course on a stretcher, as reported by Cycling Weekly.
Roughly 700 cyclists in the event’s “elite” group of riders had been permitted to start the event before it was called off, but they were instructed to walk their bikes through certain sections of the course.
Even that proved difficult:
“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,” David Bellairs of the Cape Town said at a press conference following the cancellation, per Cycling Weekly. “Furthermore, we only made the decision after endeavoring to mitigate all risks to keep the event open.”
According to Sport24, Bellairs also announced that participants will not be refunded for their entry fees and the race will not be rescheduled in 2017.
Ultimately, there were only minor injuries from the winds, and the videos of riders attempting to battle through the conditions are nothing short of jaw-dropping: