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Traffic chaos forces neutralisation of Tour of South Africa's second stage

By:
Cycling News
Published:
February 20, 2011, 23:12 GMT,
Updated:
February 20, 2011, 23:22 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 21, 2011
Race:
Tour of South Africa, Stage 2
The race is stopped as organisers try to get cars off the route

The race is stopped as organisers try to get cars off the route

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House remains in overall lead

Organisers of the Tour of South Africa were forced to cancel Sunday's second stage around Montecasino, near Johannesburg following a number of incidents where traffic entered the course despite rolling road closures.

A number of attacks lead to the breakaway of the day finally establishing itself at the 40 kilometre mark with Christopher Jennings (Burgos 2016), Johan van Zyl (Toyota CSA) and Clint Hendriks (Tasol-GT) creating a gap of 1min 38 seconds. As the group of three approached the finishing circuit in Sandton, the race was neutralised for the first time.

"Motorists were forcing themselves on to the route at the risk of riders, marshals and spectators," explained Barry Mocke, CEO Cycling South Africa.

Five minutes passed and two more stops in the race ensued before the race got under way again with the breakaway group allowed their 1min 38sec advantage. However, there was still more traffic on the finishing circuit in Sandton and race organisers were forced to neutralise the stage. It is believe that riders threatened to strike.

"CSA [Cycling South Africa] made the call to cancel the stage due to safety concerns, its unfortunate & disappointing but we want a safe race above all else," South African team Bonitas said via Twitter.

"The Metro Police that were on the race with us earlier have disappeared."

Mocke said in an official statement that while organisers were not happy with the outcome, "we will not lay blame anywhere."

Rapha Condor Sharp's Kristian House remains leader on general classification after he took out Saturday's opening stage in Montecasino.

The Tour of South Africa has returned to the racing calendar for the first time in a decade. The race continues tomorrow with stage three, 177 kilometres near Port Elizabeth, in the country's south.

"We will be doubling our efforts together with the local authorities to ensure that a repeat of Stage 2 will not occur," said Mocke. "In Port Elizabeth we will have 38 mobile traffic officers, 21 Tour bike marshals and 50 static marshals even though a large portion of the route occurs outside the City."

 

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