About 1300 cyclists turned out for the annual Winelands cye race organised by the Rotary Club of Paarl. The race started at Huguenot Primary in Wellington in ideal conditions but hot weather was forecast for later that day.
Covid screening was still required, and Rotarians affixed stickers to the helmets of cyclists who passed the pre-race Covid screening by the heat sensor (far right) before the start of the race.
Temperatures along the route to Riebeek West and Malmesbury rose steadily and before midday it was decided to call off the race due to extreme heat conditions of close to 40 degrees and high humidity. Paarl Rotarians were kept busy at water stations providing water, ice and soft drinks at regular points on the race route.
Five ambulances were also deployed along the route to assist riders that required medical attention. In addition, roving vehicles with 1000 litre water tanks patrolled the route and sector marshals had water on their vehicles to assist riders to keep hydrated. Additional vehicles with water cans were deployed to cater for riders at the back of the field once the race had been called off.
A total of 1093 riders made it back to the finish while the rest were transported.
* Tragically, one of the front group of riders, Juan Gierz of Cape Town, was seriously injured near the finish in Wellington when he swerved to avoid a fellow cyclist and collided with a stationary vehicle in a side street. He was transported to the nearest hospital where he subsequently passed away.  Paarl Rotary was shocked and saddened by the incident and conveyed its sincere condolences to Mr Gierz's family.