Deaths mar cycle race

Early morning light glinting on the wheels as a group of cyclists round Clovelly Corner. PICTURE: KEITH LYLE

Three people died on Sunday in the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Race director David Bellairs said the first incident happened just before 9am on Sunday morning at Wynberg Hill on the M3 southbound when a group of 20 cyclists were involved in a pile-up.

A 40 year-old cyclist succumbed to the injuries he sustained in this incident and had received immediate medical attention at the scene but that “tragically, his injuries proved fatal”.

“His family has asked that we respect their privacy at this time and we will not be releasing his name,” said Mr Bellairs.

He said that in the second incident a male cyclist had suffered a suspected heart attack at Smitswinkel Bay heading towards Cape Point gate at 10.22am. Emergency services spent about 45 minutes trying to resuscitate him but were unable to.

In line with the family’s wishes, they are also not releasing this cyclist’s name.

Mr Bellairs says there had been a total of five heart attacks on the day and the others were resuscitated.

He said the participants were given medical forms to complete before the race, in which they were asked about their medical conditions. But, he said, sometimes those who assume they are perfectly fit can suffer heart attacks. When going through the forms the organisers identify high-risk patients and the medical team stays in contact and advises them to seek further medical advice before they participate in the race.

He says in his 28 years of working on the Cycle Tour, there have been only two trauma-related deaths on the day of the race, the first was on Ou Kaapse Weg. Mr Bellairs says some cyclists lose concentration while they are using cellphones.

A third fatality was that of Jeremy Glover, a member of Helderberg Rise Rotary Club who was marshalling at Suikerbossie. An eye witness has come forward and the incident is being investigated.

Over 30 000 cyclists participated in the 40th edition of the 109km race on Sunday.

Nolan Hoffman won the men’s elite race for the third time, racing over the finish line in 2 hours 37 minutes and 30 seconds.

With regards to water use at the race, Mr Bellairs said at most two million litres of water could have been used during the race but they had sourced three million litres from Swellendam into Macassar Water Treatment Works, and from a donor who wished to remain anonymous, which will go into Steenberg dam.