Three deaths mar Cape Town Cycle Tour

Cyclists compete in the world's largest timed cycle race. the Cape Town Cycle Tour. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

The Cape Town Cycle Tour, held on Sunday in the South African city, was marred by the deaths of two cyclists and one course marshal.

The Tour, which is the largest individually timed cycle race in the world, saw two cyclists die on Sunday, one due to a crash on the course and the other a suspected heart attack.

The marshal, who was stationed near the Llundudno turn-off, died in hospital in the late afternoon, though the circumstances are unknown and the case is being investigated by the South African Police Service.

Event spokesperson David Bellairs confirmed the deaths on Monday morning, saying in a statement: "For the vast majority of our cyclists and those working behind the scenes, the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour reached a successful culmination after months of hard work.

"But three families are in mourning for the three lives lost on the route this year.

"One cyclist succumbed to his wounds at the scene of a pileup with other cyclists at the base of Wynberg Hill, another is suspected to have experienced a heart attack going up the hill at Smitswinkel Bay, and, as stated, we are awaiting confirmation regarding the marshall."

The race saw nearly 35,000 riders take to the course, and Bellairs was at pains to assure future participants that the safety of riders and spectators was a top priority.

He added: "I want to assure everyone that all measures are taken to ensure participants' and marshalls' safety on the route. In my 28 years working on the Cycle Tour, there have been only 2 trauma related deaths on the day of Cycle Tour."

The men's 109km race was won by Nolan Hoffman, in a time of 2:37:30, while the women's 79km race was won by Kim le Court in 2:11:50.