Cape Town Cycle Tour ‘drastically shortened’ due to fires

For the last four days the cycle route along the Southern Peninsula has been on fire.

A group of riders ride through Muizenburg, with False Bay in the background in the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March, 2014. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The 2015 Cape Town Cycle Tour will be drastically shortened this year due to the impact of the massive fires which have crippled the Mother City and surrounds.

For the last four days the Southern Peninsula, which the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour traditionally passes through, has been on fire.

Organisers will this year be staging a vastly shortened version of the Cycle Tour. The route will be a 47km circular from its normal start at the Civic Centre to the end of the M3 and back the same way to a slightly altered finish in Green Point.

Organisers said the circumstances this week were unprecedented in 38 years of the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Firefighters have worked day and night battling the flames in sweltering heat as experienced pilots flew choppers to drop buckets of water on the flames.

Emergency teams, paramedics, health officials and disaster experts have been hard at work saving lives and preventing homes from burning down.

David Bellairs, a director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour trust, in a statement said, that the public has responded to the crisis.

"Not only have they rushed to bring necessities including eye drops, ice, drinks, food for the fire fighters. They have also pledged donations to buy much-needed resources."

Event organisers said it has become clear that the safety of cyclists could be guaranteed on Chapman's Peak and this ruled out using this famous landmark for the 2015 event.

"This is largely as a result of the extensive fire which has destroyed vegetation responsible for retaining the mountainside above Chapman's Peak. Furthermore, the heat has caused rocks to expand making them unstable and in some instances rock falls have occurred."

The detour option of Ou Kaapse Weg via the M3 was considered, however the soot and ash covering both sides of the road on Ou Kaapse Weg presented a considerable health risk to participants exacerbated by the likelihood of wind.

Click here for an updated route map for the 2015 Cape Town Cycle Tour.