Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour
The Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour (referred to in short as the Argus) is an annual cycle race hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, usually 109 km long. It is the first event outside Europe to be included in the International Cycling Union's Golden Bike Series.
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 Argus Pick n Pay 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.
In recent years the race has usually followed a scenic 109 km 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.
In 2009 and 2010, as well as during previous years until 1999 the race had followed slightly different routes, between 104 and 110 km in length - see the table below.
The course records for conventional bicycles for the 110 km course over Chapman's Peak are:
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. He is the oldest man (90 years old at the time) to complete the race on a single bicycle during the 2010 Cycle Tour in a time of 06:48:52. 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. 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.
History of the Cycle Tour
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, including a leg to Cape Point, but was reduced to a 104 km 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.
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 (kids under 6 years of age)
- Junior Cycle Tour (kids 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)
The race was stopped twice due to extreme weather, although in both cases many competitors had completed the race by then:
- In 2002 due to heat: stopped at 14:45 at Ou Kaapse Weg when temperatures reached 42° Celsius;
- In 2009 due to strong winds: stopped at 16:30 at Chapman's Peak due to gusts up to 100 km/h 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.
Details of each event
Key information regarding each of the race events is as follows:
|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).|
|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. 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
- Series' official website. However, in 2010 it was excluded from the Golden Bike Series (as shown on the website, retrieved on 27 March 2010).
- Cape Argus Cycle Tour event website and Giro del Cabo website
- 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.
- Cape Argus 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.
- Cape Times, 12 March 2012.]
- Eye Witness News, 14 March 2010.
- The Echo, 19 March 2010.
- Full Circle, March 2009.
- Argus race results, 2006.
- Cycle tour website.
- Sunday Tribune 15 March 2010, 'The Cape Argus Cycle Tour'.
- 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.
- 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.