Stormy weather and Omicron influence cycling events

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The Double Century route is linked with multiple mountain passes. Which are high risk roads, after a potent storm (Photo: Tobias Ginsberg)
The Double Century route is linked with multiple mountain passes. Which are high risk roads, after a potent storm (Photo: Tobias Ginsberg)
  • Arguably South Africa’s best road cycling event, was undone by an unseasonal storm.
  • As the toughest off-road cyclist prepare for the Munga, one of the race’s favourite’s has withdrawn.
  • The issues around Omicron has robbed the Munga, of its star rider.

After a successful October, with both the Cape Epic and Wines2Whales mountain bike races, disruption has returned to local cycling events.

Powerful storm conditions throughout the Southern Cape and Overberg, forced the cancellation of one of the country’s most celebrated road racing events on Saturday.

Organisers of the Old Mutual Double Century (DC) were forced to disappoint the nearly 2500 riders who had ventured to Swellendam area for the 202km classic.

A tough call - but the correct one

The drenched route and riding surface, left organisers little choice.

It was a bitter outcome for those riders and teams who hold the DC as a pinnacle of local road riding. Still, on the balance of evidence, DC organisers had to consider risk in their decision and made the correct one.

Road cyclists ride at much higher average speeds than mountain bikers.

And in wet conditions, not all road bikes are equally capable of safe deceleration when emergency braking is required.

Wet roads and rocks

Although many road riders have transitioned to disc brakes, this is not the case for all. Disc brakes have a notable advantage in wet conditions, providing more potent and consistent braking power.

Tyre tread patterns and widths, make a significant impact on braking performance. It is doubtful whether an entire field would have brought wet-weather riding tyres to Swellendam, for the DC.

The Tradouw pass is a crucial part of the DC route and rock falls made it impossible to guarantee safe passage.

The fan favourite forced home

Beyond the dissatisfaction of a cancelled DC, fans of the brutal Munga endurance race – between Bloemfontein and Wellington – have seen the race’s celebrity dwindle, a touch. 

An extreme test of off-road cycling endurance, some of the Munga’s international riders, have mostly been undone, by the Omicron variant and its influence on travel.

gravel bike
Lachlan Morton was clearly disappointed, having to leave the country ahead of the Munga event (Photo: Instagram)

He'll be back

One of the world’s most popular riders, Australian road and gravel pro Lachlan Morton, was desperately keen to complete the Munga.

After having experienced a great Cape Epic, Morton committed to the Munga, but left the country soon after arriving for the extreme endurance event.

The charismatic and popular Australian cycling icon has vowed to return in future.

For the other Munga riders, it will be business as usual, as they prepare for a very personal 'hell of the Karoo' on 1 December.


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