Amashova cycle race called off
Amashova race organisers and the Joint Operations Centre said a decision was taken to stop the 106km race when temperatures soared to potentially dangerous levels for cyclists.
The group said seven buses were sent to pick up about 400 cyclists who were still riding on the Amashova route in the Botha’s Hill region.
The race was also affected by an incident in which a 52-year-old participant collapsed.
Tsogo Sun said ER24, the race’s official medical partners, reported that a man suffered a cardiac arrest while cycling just outside Hillcrest.
The group said CPR was initiated immediately by a bystander and continued by ER24 paramedics on the scene and en route to the hospital.
However, the cyclist died at the hospital.
Commenting on the decision to call off the race, Amashova race director Annie Batchelder said: “The safety of the cyclists participating in our race is our top priority.”
Batchelder also commended residents along the route for supporting cyclists battling with the heat.
“We’re grateful for all the support and the quick reaction by our partners on the route to ensure the safety and well-being of our cyclists.”
While the temperature in Durban peaked at around 29°C yesterday, participant Aroon Patel, a member of the Cycle Specialists Club, said it felt like the temperature on the road was closer to 35 degrees.
He said there were lots of sections along the route that were without shade and windy conditions had also made the race more difficult.
“Strong wind combined with the heat meant that cyclists had to work harder and at around 11am the race got difficult,” said Patel.
Wisani Maluleke, a South African Weather Services forecaster, said the warm weather in Durban yesterday was much milder than the heatwave conditions that affected parts of uThukela, uMzinyathi, Amajuba and Abaqulusi district municipalities, and eDumbe local municipality in the north-western parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
Maluleke said Richards Bay had reached 39 degrees yesterday while parts of Zululand reached 40 degrees.
The heatwave in the northern parts of the province was expected to continue today, while cooler conditions were forecast for Durban, with the temperature expected to drop to 23 degrees today.
Extremely high fire-danger conditions are expected over the north-western parts of KZN today.