Cycle Tour / 11 March 2019, 09:05am / Staff Reporter
Cape Town - The organisers of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, a highlight on the local events calendar, were saddened to report the death of a cyclist on Sunday.
“It is with deep regret that the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust confirms that a participant passed away during the 2019 Cape Town Cycle Tour, after collapsing at Smitswinkel Bay,” said David Bellairs, marketing, media and sponsorship director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust.
“Our sincere condolences go out to his family. We are respecting the family’s wishes, and not releasing any further personal details at this point.”
Tens of thousands of cyclists braved blustery conditions to tackle the 109km route in the world’s largest timed cycling race.
Cherise Willeit, from the Investec-Songo-Specialized team, made an emphatic return to road racing by claiming her fourth Cape Town Cycle Tour title.
Willeit, who only recently started training in earnest again after a short break from cycling, took the bunch sprint ahead of 2018 defending champion Kim le Court, from Team Demacon MaxWax Racing, and Tiffany Keep, from Team Titan.
Elated over her victory, she said: “I absolutely cannot believe it. It is just such a special victory for me today, in front of my husband and kids.”
Willeit crossed the line in a time of 02:16:11.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour covers 109km of the most scenic routes around the Cape peninsula.
This year, internet sensation Marelize Horn, of the “My f*k Marelize” video, made an appearance at the start of the race. Cyclists experienced a strong south-easterly wind, making for highly tactical racing from early on, but the mountain bikers took the fight in their favour.
Willeit said: “I expected the mountain bikers to do what they did. There wasn’t really much opportunity for an attack from there because the mountain bikers set such a solid and fast pace at the front.”
Meanwhile, men’s race winner, New Zealander Sam Gaze, completed a double for Investec-Songo-Specialized, completing his race in a time of 02:39:42. Gaze said Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Clint Hendricks, from team Pro Touch Continental, was a tough competitor.
“Clint is an incredibly fast sprinter and there were a few other fast boys in there, so to be able to pull it off was really good,” he said.
Gaze, who finished as runner-up in 2018, was part of a group of 10 riders who got away after Simon’s Town. He called it an “honest race”, thanks to the south-easterly wind and the depth of the racing field.
Gaze timed his attack to perfection to take the win on the line.
“When I had that right-hander after the roundabout into the final few hundred metres, I had a feel of the wind and had made up my mind that I was going to come from behind. Luckily it worked out perfectly,” he said.