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The Cape Town Cycle Tour[1] is an annual cycle race hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, usually 109 km (68 mi) long. It is the first event outside Europe to be included in the Union Cycliste Internationale's Golden Bike Series.[2]

Cape Town Cycle Tour
DateSecond Sunday in March
RegionCape Town, South Africa
DisciplineRoad race
OrganiserCape Town Cycle Tour Trust
First edition1978 (1978)
Editions41 (as of 2018)
First winnerLawrence Whittaker
Most winsWillie Engelbrecht
Most recentNolan Hoffman

South Africa hosts some of the largest, by number of entrants, sporting events in the world with three being the largest of their type. The Cape Town Cycle Tour, with as many as 35 000 cyclists taking part, is the world's largest individually timed cycle race. The other two are the world's largest ultra-marathon running event, the Comrades Marathon, and the world's largest open water swim, the Midmar Mile.

The Cycle Tour forms the last leg of the Giro del Capo, a multi-stage race for professional and leading registered riders.[3]

It is traditionally staged on the second Sunday of March and has enjoyed well known competitors such as Miguel Indurain, Jan Ulrich and Lance Armstrong.



In recent years the race has usually followed a scenic 109 km (68 mi) circular route from Cape Town down the Cape Peninsula and back. The start is in Hertzog Boulevard in the city centre, at Cape Town's main Civic Centre. It then follows a short section of the N2 called Nelson Mandela Boulevard, then the M3 to Muizenberg, and then Main Road along the False Bay coast to Simon's Town and Smitswinkel Bay. The route then crosses the peninsula in a westerly direction, past the entrance to Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park (within which Cape Point is situated). It then heads north along the Atlantic coast through Scarborough, Kommetjie, Noordhoek, Chapmans Peak, Hout Bay over Suikerbossie hill to Camps Bay and ends next to the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point.[4]

In 2009 and 2010, as well as during previous years until 1999 the race had followed slightly different routes, between 104 km (65 mi) and 110 km (68 mi) in length – see the table below.[4]


The course records for conventional bicycles for the 110 km course over Chapman's Peak are:[4]

The record for the highest number of consecutive victories within a competitor's age group belongs to Penny Krohn, who scored 25 such age group wins.[5]

By far the quickest time ever recorded (and highest ever average speed) was set on the 105 km course in 1993 by Wimpie van der Merwe in his fully faired recumbent (02:16:40, averaging 46.1 km/h).[6]

The oldest cyclist to complete the race within the maximum allowed seven hours is Japie Malan (92 years old at the time) during the 2012 Cyle Tour – on a tandem in a time of 05:49:00.[7] He is the oldest man (90 years old at the time) to complete the race on a single bicycle during the 2010 Cycle Tour[8] in a time of 06:48:52.[9] He is also the oldest man to have ridden the Argus for the first time, which he did in 2004 when he was 84 years old.[10] The oldest woman to complete the race is Mary Warner (80 years old at the time) during the 2006 tour, in a time of 06:43:38.[11]

History of the Cycle TourEdit

In 1978, Bill Mylrea and John Stegmann organised the Big Ride-In to draw attention to the need for cycle paths in South Africa. The Ride-In drew hundreds of cyclists, including the Mayor of Cape Town at the time. The ride was first won by Lawrence Whittaker in September 1978.

This race was originally planned to run over 140 km (87 mi), including a leg to Cape Point, but was reduced to a 104 km (65 mi) route when authority to enter the then Cape Point Nature Reserve was refused. The organisers convinced an initially reluctant Cape Argus, a local newspaper and sponsor, to grant the event the right to use its name.[4]

The event now forms part of one of five cycling events which take place over a period of one week starting a week before the Cycle Tour and culminating in the Cycle Tour. The other events include:

  • Tricycle Tour (youngsters under 6 years of age)
  • Junior Cycle Tour (youngsters between 6 and 12 years of age)
  • MTB Challenge (Mountain Bike)
  • Giro del Capo (5-day pro stage race, the last day of which is the Cycle Tour itself)

Route alterations and stoppagesEdit

Between 2000 and 2003, the race followed an alternative route due to the closure of Chapman's Peak Drive, with a return trip via Ou Kaapse Weg and the Blue Route.

The race has been stopped three times due to extreme weather, although in the first two cases many competitors had completed the race before the stoppage, and once significantly shortened due to fire. It has been cancelled once:

  • The 2002 race was stopped at 14:45 at Ou Kaapse Weg when temperatures reached 42 °C (108 °F)[4]
  • The 2009 race was stopped at 16:30 at Chapman's Peak due to strong winds, with gusts up to 100 km/h (62 mph) that blew cyclists off their cycles. Initially the cut off time was extended from 7 to 8 hours due to the strong wind. Despite the late closure many cyclists were affected, because starting for some groups was delayed by as much as 2 hours due to extreme winds at the starting line-up.[12]
  • The 2015 race took place on a significantly shortened route of 47km to the end of the Blue Route and back, following a major fire earlier that month that led to the closure of Chapman's Peak Drive and parts of Ou Kaapse Weg.[13]
  • The 2017 race was cancelled on the day due to extreme weather. Wind speeds in excess of 100 km/h in addition to fires on part of the route caused the event organisers to cancel after the first round of cyclists had started the race. The threat of possible protest action along a section of the route also increased safety concerns. Participants who had started already were turned back at the end of the M3 highway.[14]

Details of each eventEdit

Key information regarding each of the race events is as follows:[4]

Year km Entrants Finishers Men Time Women Time Notes on the route Notes on the weather and the race
1978 104 525 446   Lawrence Whittaker 03:02:25   Janice Theis 04:35:00 Started at the Castle, Strand Street. Ended in Camps Bay.
1979 104 999 760   Hans Degenaar 02:52:38  Janice Theis 03:36:46 Ditto
1980 104 1398 1119   Hennie Wentzel 03:02:18  Monika Gasson 03:59:00 Ditto
1981 104 1669 1372   Ertjies Bezuidenhout 02:47:42  Ann Wood 03:40:01 Start moved to Hertzog Boulevard to reduce congestion at on-ramp to Eastern Boulevard.
1982 104 1698 1372   Mark Pinder 03:01:25   Martina le Roux 03:34:54 Ditto Southeaster played havoc with bannering at start, and howled throughout the day.
1983 104 2302 1929  Robbie McIntosh 02:49:55   Heather Smithers 03:21:20 Ditto Very windy. First bicycle to cross the finish line was a tandem ridden by William Smith and Francois du Toit.
1984 104 2373 2023   Theuns Mulder 02:55:07   Isavel Roche-Kelly 03:19:14 Ditto Quickest overall was Lloyd Wright on his unconventional bike in 02:43:51.
1985 104 3008 2445   Hennie Wentzel   Louise van Riet Lowe 03:04:36 Ditto
1986 104 3494 3086   Ertjies Bezuidenhout 02:40:20   Cathy Carstens 02:49:55 Ditto
1987 104 5934 4761   Hennie Wentzel 02:43:05   Cathy Carstens 03:03:24 Ditto Strong northwesterly blowing, Heavy rain, high winds and extreme cold, called 'Siberian' weather by The Argus.
1988 104 10850 8707  Willie Engelbrecht 02:36:54  Cathy Carstens 02:54:23 Ditto Windless. Quickest overall was Lloyd Wright on his faired recumbent in 02:33:03.
1989 105 12802 10559   Willie Engelbrecht 02:49:24   Cathy Carstens 02:57:55 Finish line moved to Maiden's Cove, adding an extra kilometre to the course Windy race. Quickest overall was Lloyd Wright on his faired recumbent in 02:37:35.
1990 105 14427 11235   Willie Engelbrecht 02:41:56   Cathy Carstens 02:53:50 Ditto Safety helmets became compulsory. Quickest overall was Lloyd Wright on his faired recumbent in 02:40:29 (a hatrick of fastest times).[15]
1991 105 15593 12750   Robbie McIntosh 02:28:46   Rene Scott 02:44:40 Ditto Perfect weather conditions.
1992 105 17274 13334   Willie Engelbrecht 02:50:04   Jackie Martin 03:03:10 Ditto
1993 105 18659 15256   Wayne Burgess 02:33:35   Kim Carter 02:51:46 Ditto Wimpie van der Merwe raced 2:16:40 on a faired recumbent (still the highest ever average speed of 46.1 km/h).
1994 105 20964 17289   Willie Engelbrecht 02:23:22   Jackie Martin 02:49:19 Ditto Windless.
1995 105 25313 20535   Michael Andersson 02:22:56   Jackie Martin 02:45:52 Ditto Near-perfect weather conditions
1996 105 28711 22294   Thomas Liese 02:40:16   Erica Green 02:58:33 Ditto
1997 105 28875 22717   Kurt Asle Arvesen 02:38:47   Erica Green 02:58:37 Ditto Very good weather.
1998 105 34162 25955   Malcolm Lange 02:39:25   Anke Erlank 02:58:27 Ditto
1999 105 36153 28885   Jacques Fullard 02:31:26   Michelle Lombardi 02:52:55 With finish line still at Maiden's Cove, the carnaval was moved to Green Point First year of using electronic timing transponders.
2000 109 39864 30081   Morne Bester 02:39:35   Anriette Schoeman 02:57:34 Chapman's Peak closed. Return trip via Ou Kaapse Weg and Blue Route, with finish in Green Point.
2001 109 39715 30785   Douglas Ryder 02:31:57   Anriette Schoeman 02:55:21 Ditto
2002 109 39831 28050   Allan Davis 02:35:34   Anriette Schoeman 02:57:29 Ditto Heat wave: race was stopped at 2:45 at Ou Kaapse Weg when temperatures reached 42 degrees.
2003 109 39668 27841   Malcolm Lange 02:29:29   Anriette Schoeman 02:54:02 Ditto Perfect weather conditions.
2004 109 42614 31219   Antonio Salomone 02:32:23   Anke Erlank 02:49:23 Route via Chapman's Peak again, with the finish line at Green Point. Sweltering day.
2005 109 39929 28334   Russell Downing 02:37:50   Anke Erlank 03:00:19 Ditto Winds of more than 40 km/h were recorded at places.
2006 108 40064 28818   Steffen Radochla 02:34:28   Anriette Schoeman 02:59:08 Ditto Cool weather and light rain.
2007 109 41279 29296   Robert Hunter 02:32:36   Anke Erlank 02:48:29 Ditto Near perfect weather
2008 109 37978 28669   Robert Hunter 02:27:29   Cherise Taylor 02:50:51 Ditto
2009 110 38594 25799   Arran Brown 02:46:32   Jennie Stenerhag 03:06:01 Cyclists diverted over Boyes Drive to avoid construction in Main Road Dubbed "the Tour of Storms", with the strongest winds ever. Fences at the start blown down and banners ripped to shreds, with gusts of up to 120 km/h.[16] The cut off time was extended to 8 hrs, but the race was eventually stopped at Chapman's Peak at 16:30, both due to extreme weather.[17]
2010 110 37662 28745   Malcolm Lange 02:39:55   Anriette Schoeman 03:06:11 Ditto Wind was a problem again, with wind speeds reaching up to 46 km/h – but nothing like the wind of the previous year.
2011 110 36848 28970   Tyler Day 02:32:10   Cherise Taylor 02:49:45 Ditto Perfect conditions.[18]
2012 110 31126   Reinardt Janse van Rensburg 02:36:17   Ashleigh Moolman 02:52:24 Ditto Initially good conditions, becoming hot later in the day. Late finishers suffered in the heat, and refreshment stations ran out of water. A pile-up close to the finishing line, involving top women cyclists and others, affected the outcome of the women's race.[19]
2013 109 ? 31700   Herman Fouche 02:39:53   Anriette Schoeman 02:52:54 Route via Chapman's Peak again, with the finish line at Green Point. ?[20]
2014 109 34500 31046   Nolan Hoffman 02:39:01   Cherise Stander 02:51:00 Ditto, despite landslides that closed Chappies two months earlier. Windy, with wind speeds of up to 83 km/h recorded at the start.[21]
2015 47 ~ 34000 32129   Nolan Hoffman 01:01:49*   Lynette Burger 01:17:52* Route shortened due to fires[22]
2016 109 28751   Clint Hendricks 2:35:31   An-Lin Kachelhoffer 02:51:26 [23]
2017 109 35000 Cancelled NA NA NA NA Cancelled on the day it was to take place due to safety concerns following very high winds reaching speeds of over 100km/h. Other reasons also cited for the cancellation were fires on part of the route in Hout Bay and the possibility of protest action on a section of the route.[24]
2018 109 35000 26384[25]   Nolan Hoffman 02:37:30   Kimberley Le Court De Billot 02:11:50[26] Start line moved from Hertzog Boulevard to the Grand Parade. Elite women raced a shorter route starting in Fish Hoek to avoid their race being influenced by other groups.[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cape Argus renamed to Cape Town Cycle Tour
  2. ^ Series' official website. However, in 2010 it was excluded from the Golden Bike Series (as shown on the website. Retrieved 27 March 2010).
  3. ^ Cape Town Cycle Tour event website and Giro del Cabo website Archived 2 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e f Drawn from Mike Wills The Cycle Tour, 2008; and re years 2008 to 2012 from 2012 Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour magazine, p 72-73.
  5. ^ Cape Town Cycle Tour website. Her string of consecutive age group wins came to an end in 2010 when she was second in her age group, with a time of 03:32:00. Her best time was 02:48:39 over a 105km course in 1995. Source: Racetec.
  6. ^ Results For: Van Der Merwe, Wimpie
  7. ^ Cape Times, 12 March 2012.]
  8. ^ Eye Witness News, 14 March 2010.
  9. ^ The Echo, 19 March 2010.
  10. ^ Full Circle, March 2009.
  11. ^ Argus race results, 2006.
  12. ^ Cycle tour website.
  13. ^ Bamford, Helen (20 March 2015). "Cost of fighting Cape fire hits R6m". Cape Argus. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Cape Town Cycle Tour 2017 cancelled as a result of extreme weather". Cape Times. 12 March 2017.
  15. ^ Results For: Wright, Lloyd Bernard
  16. ^ Sunday Tribune 15 March 2010, 'The Cape Argus Cycle Tour'.
  17. ^ On time extension and early race closure: Cycle tour website. For a comparison between competitors' target racing time and their equivalent "storm time": Interesting facts: 2009 tour.
  18. ^ Cape Argus 2011 results: Tyler Day edges Malcolm Lange 13 March 2011
  19. ^ Cape Times, 12 March 2012; Cape Argus, 16 March 2012; Cape Argus Cycle Tour website. Video of the pile-up close to the finishing line.
  20. ^ Results For: Sun 10/03/2013 Cape Argus
  21. ^ Cycletour website..
  22. ^ Campbell-Gillies, Victoria. "CAPE TOWN CYCLE TOUR 'DRASTICALLY SHORTENED' DUE TO FIRES". EWN. EWN. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  23. ^ Clint Hendricks claims 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour 6 March 2016
  24. ^ "Safety is our first priority – CT Cycle Tour director". Cape Town: Sport24. 12 March 2017.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^

External linksEdit