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March 11, 2013

Richard Branson completes Cape Argus Pick n Pay cycle tour

Richard Branson whizzes by on his road bike. Photo courtesy of Faheem Jakoet

Richard Branson got through the 109km 2013 Cape Argus Pick n Pay cycle tour in less than five hours, even though he took a little tumble and landed in the grass. The 62-year-old entrepreneur says he managed to complete the route because he is fit and healthy from kitesurfing, swimming, playing tennis and occasionally going to a gym.

Yesterday's race was won by team Bonitas rider Herman Fouche, with Westvaal-BMC rider Tyler Day coming in second, followed by another Team Bonitas rider, Christoff van Heerden. Anriëtte Schoeman won the ladies' race, with Cherise Stander and Jennie Stenerhag taking second and third place respectively.

The British billionaire joined the Virgin Active South Africa team in the race on Sunday and, writing on his blog hours after the race, he says his team could have gone quicker if they had left him behind. While this assertion may be conjecture on his part, one thing is for certain: Branson loved the race and tweeted that he had been "swept along by the crowd". In another tweet he said: "Wonderful ride in Cape Argus Cycle Tour, great atmosphere, impeccable organisation & amazing support @virginactivesa http://virg.in/cas".

After being given a choice of riding a mountain or road bike, Branson chose to tackle the tour on a road bike. 

The day before the race he seemed to be psyching himself up as, by his own admission, he had not been on a bicycle for five straight hours before and had not completed a real bike ride in more than 50 years. In a tweet on Saturday he promised to do his best, which he said would be to "keep on moving that is!" In a philosophical tweet he said: "Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance against challenges you must keep on moving."

He was given a gentle push up the notorioius Suikerbossie Hill in Hout Bay, after which he tweeted that he had taken a small tumble and had landed in the grass.

Writing on his blog, Branson said that it was a beautiful day and even though he had kept his eyes on his toes for most of the way, he had found time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

He was very taken and touched by the support of thousands of spectators lining the route and said: "The crowds of local people watching the race swept everybody along with their cheering, clapping and good-natured humour. Was touched by posters along the way calling the race my Virgin Tour."

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