Keeping you safe on the Cape Town Cycle Tour

Posted on 6 January 2017

As the official medical service provider for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Mediclinic has expanded the health screening questionnaire that forms part of the race registration process. Race doctor Jann Killops answers questions about the questionnaire and explains what the information is used for.

Why a questionnaire?

A total of 37 000 riders participate in the Cape Town Cycle Tour every year and each of them is requested to complete a health screening questionnaire when they register. These answers are used to help our Mediclinic staff prepare properly to take care of all riders on race day. Apart from the Cape Town Cycle Tour being the largest timed race in the world we also want it to be the safest.

Based on the answers we also provide personalised advice. For instance, if you have indicated that you suffer from shortness of breath when cycling, we’ll send you a two-page advice sheet recommending what to watch out for. We hope such interventions will help riders make more informed decisions and exercise safely every day – not just on race day.

For example, we ask how much time you spend on the road, in the gym and so on. People sometimes ask us if these aren’t just marketing questions – but they’re absolutely not. We’ve found that riders who don’t have race-specific experience are at greater risk of traumatic complications. So if we know that you’re only cycling in the gym, we can provide advice and care based on that. This is the power of such a detailed questionnaire.

Can I fail?

No. The questionnaire might advise you to see a doctor, but in no way can you ‘fail’ it – nor should you be concerned that you’re going to have your number may be withdrawn or seeded in a weaker group.

Is my information safe?

The responses to the questionnaire are hosted by Mediclinic and stored with our clinical data. We have the highest standards of compliance with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, so yes, it is secure.

What will Mediclinic do with my information?

Apart from helping us prepare for race day, there is an additional benefit to having this information. We ask riders for consent to utilise the data for research purposes. This enables us to analyse the race as a whole and make it safer.

We’ve developed the questionnaire with the help of Prof Martin Schwellnus and the Sports, Exercise, Medicine and Lifestyle Research Institute at the University of Pretoria. We want to look at this population, see what affects them on race day and determine whether there’s anything we can do to prevent it. We want to develop a very specific intervention for the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

To put your mind at rest: you will expressly be asked for consent and Mediclinic will ask your permission to use your responses in anonymous form as part of a study to understand the 37 000 cyclists’ experience on race day.

Is it compulsory?

Not at all, but we’d obviously encourage everybody to help us be medically prepared for race day. We’ve had patients with serious life-threatening issues on previous races and if it weren’t for the information they provided in the questionnaire, we wouldn’t have had the easily accessible background information to treat them asefficiently. The more information we have, the better we can assist people on race day.


In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.