Team ACE Lesotho’s Phetetso Monese (Lesotho) and Leonhard Lukoschek (Germany) obliterated the FNB W2W MTB Ride Stage Two “Play Day” route in an awe-inspiring time of 02 hours 55 minutes 30 seconds at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw) on Tuesday, 31 October 2017.
The only stage to start and finish at the picturesque Oak Valley Wine Estate, Stage Two of the FNB W2W MTB Ride featured 67 kilometres of mountain biking pleasure that included iconic bridges with names such as Waterfall, Vissie’s Magic, JK’s Edge, Sounds of Silence, Rietvlei, Witklippies 1 & 2, Raka, Swing, Ark, Cobra, Mamba, Boomslang, Pofadder, Jakkels, River Run and the much loved PERI-KROMCO Playpark to mention just a few.
“Today was great. I really enjoyed the route,” says Monese. “We were under a little more pressure with the 2nd and 3rd teams chasing hard. It was harder to get away from them. We just kept pushing. Thanks to our current lead, we won’t be under too much pressure tomorrow. We’ll just relax and stick with the lead group.”
“It wasn’t as easy to get a gap today,” admits Lukoschek. “We’re stronger physically though, so we just kept pushing. I expected the stage to be much more technical, but instead it was really smooth. On the “Sounds of Silence” section I could leave the breaks completely open. Stage Two was a lot of fun.”
Team Transporters’ Steven Bark and Fabian Valsechi came in second, while Team Tallboys’ Michael Van Niekerk and Trevor Baptiste finished third.
The mixed team race was once again dominated by Team Oak Racing’s brother and sister duo of Stephan and Mariske Strauss. Team Oak Racing crossed the finish line at Oak Valley Wine Estate in 03 hours 08 minutes 12 seconds. “We went out really hard for the first 1 ½ hours, but then we started to struggle,” says Stephan. “We just wanted to get to the single track first. Stage Two was like a Cross Country race. Around every corner we dropped our gears and pushed.”
“Stage Two was sharp and punchy with a lot of ups and downs,” says Mariske. “The trails were amazing. Stage Three is going to be tough. We’ll just stick with the bunch and get to Hermanus.”
Julien Louw and Colleen De Oliveira of Team Giant Durbanville came in second, while Russell Lund and Anneke Hanekom of Team Haaskat finished third.
Team Defenders’ Ilse Viljoen and Jana Kruger strengthened their lead crossing the finish line first in the women’s race in 03 hours 41 minutes 48 seconds.
“Stage Two was amazing,” says Viljoen. “I couldn’t image it being better than last year, but it was. At approximately the 20km mark we felt strong and just got into the flow. The trails were lovely. I’m excited to take on Stage Three. Last year the Wildekrans trails were superb. I am really looking forward to riding them again tomorrow.”
“We just took it easy and settled into the stage,” says Kruger. “We’re having a lovely, relaxing weekend. Ilse and I have been friends for a long time. We studied together, but don’t get to see each other that often. W2W has given us the perfect opportunity to catch up.”
Team Pool Nurse’s Alta Kriegler and Sunette Beyers came in second, while Team Pace of Mind’s Halcyone Muller and Heidi Nieuwoudt finished third.
EVENT INFORMATION: FNB Wines2Whales MTB Ride
Stage Three: Wednesday, 01 November 2017
Start Venue: Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)
Finish Venue: Onrus Caravan Park
Start Time: 07:00
For more information on the FNB Wines2Whales MTB events contact Chris on 083 760 3158, e-mail email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.wines2whales.co.za
ABOUT FNB WINES2WHALES
Recently acquired by Cape Epic (PTY) Ltd, FNB Wines2Whales is a three-day mountain bike stage race held in the Western Cape, South Africa. Founded in 2009, the annual event hosts four thousand riders competing in two-person teams over 70-80km per day. The race format consists of three consecutive, separate, but identical events over ten days (named ‘Adventure’, ‘Ride’ and ‘Race’) – allowing riders to choose the appropriate option that suits their level of competitiveness. With entries selling out each year, FNB Wines2Whales is regarded as South Africa’s premier three-day mountain bike stage race.
ABOUT CAPE EPIC (PTY) Ltd and ABSA CAPE EPIC
The Absa Cape Epic® is the world’s premier mountain bike stage race. The route changes every year, leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through roughly 650km of unspoilt scenery and 15,000m of accumulated climbing, over some of the most magnificent mountain passes in Western Cape in South Africa. The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world and the only eight-day mountain bike stage race classed as hors catégorie by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). This official UCI status makes it a highlight on the professional racer’s calendar. The Absa Cape Epic also attracts aspiring amateur riders wanting to test themselves against the best. It is a full-service race, meaning that everything is taken care of from the start – all riders need to think about is riding.
In 2017, Cape Epic was acquired by the IRONMAN group, part of Wanda Sports, to anchor a global portfolio of off-road events and to spearhead the development and expansion of a worldwide series of premium mountain-bike races.
For more information on the FNB Wines2Whales®, visit www.wines2whales.co.za
For more information on the Absa Cape Epic®, visit www.cape-epic.com
For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com