Stage Two of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) MTB Race saw Team PYGA Euro Steel 1’s Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys, and Team Valencia Ladies’ Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall shake up the field in the men’s and women’ race respectively on Saturday, 04 November 2017.
“I knew that it would be a hard stage, but the route suited us well,” said Beukes. “We applied some pressure in the rocky sections. The group stuck together and then Konny’s bike got a flat tyre. From there it was a 60km drag race. Stage Three will be like a one day race for us. It’s basically our last big race of the year so we might as well go all out.”
Teammate Philip Buys expects a tough Stage Three. “Today wasn’t an easy day or an easy win. We know that Stage Three won’t be any easier,” said Buys.
Team PYGA Euro Steel 1 completed Stage Two in an impressive time of 02 hours 39 minutes 12 seconds. Team NAD Pro MTB’s Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell came in second, while Team Investec-Songo.info’s Konny Looser and Christoph Sauser finished third.
Team Valencia Ladies’ Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall completed Stage Two in a deserving time of 03 hours 01 minute 38 seconds.
“I knew that we had a lot of single track coming up on Stage Two,” says Sanders. “I went to the front and set the tempo. We reached the single track first and just held our lead from there.”
“Today was beautiful,” says Mcdougall. “I felt much better than yesterday and the single track suited our riding style. It was smiles all the way. We plan on riding as hard as we can on the last stage.”
Team Meerendal CBC’s Jennie Stenerhag and Adelheid Morath came in second, with Team Velocity Sports Lab’s Carmen Buchacher and Michelle Vorster placing third on the day.
In the mixed team race husband and wife duo Jeannie and Martin Dreyer of Team Merchants claimed another stage victory with a finishing time of 03 hours 16 minutes 32 seconds. “We had a phenomenal day,” says Jeannie. “I like to think that my mountain biking skills are improving as I felt more relaxed and was able to enjoy the stage. The route was smooth and free flowing. Everything just seemed to connect well. We’re looking forward to Stage Three. It’s always special seeing the ocean.”
Team Jowetts Racing’s Natalie Bergstrom and Warren Price came in second, while Team SAICA’s Ila and Darryn Stow finished third.
Leading out Stage Three:
Going into Stage Three Team Investec-Songo.info’s Konny Looser and Christoph Sauser have a 6 second lead over Team PYGA Euro Steel 1’s Matthys Beukes Philip Buys. Team NAD Pro MTB’s Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell are in third place.
“Even though it’s only 6 seconds, going into Stage Three as the leaders makes a difference,” says Looser. “It’s a mental game. The other teams will have to attack. Both teams are pretty much on the same level. It won’t be easy to make up the difference.”
In the Women’s Race Team Meerendal CBC’s Jennie Stenerhag and Adelheid Morath have just over 5 minutes on Team Dormakaba’s Candice Lill and Vera Adrian. Team Valencia Ladies’ Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall are in third place.
“Stage Three will be a tough stage,” says Stenerhag. “I try not to think about the prize money until after the race. I was thinking about it a bit during Stage Two though. Overall is what counts.”
Team Merchants’ Jeannie and Martin Dreyer are leading the Mixed Team Race by over 8 minutes. Team Jowetts Racing’s Natalie Bergstrom and Warren Price are in second place, with Team SAICA’s Ila and Darryn Stow lying in third place.
The only stage to start and finish at the Oak Valley Wine Estate, “Play Day” saw riders having to complete a 71km route that featured a 1350 ascent. Iconic sections to look out for on route included 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.