Kleinhans & Reid win FNB W2W MTB Event

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Johann Rabie Gawie Combrinck James Reid and Erik Kleinhans photo credit Volume Photography

Team RECM’s Erik Kleinhans and James Reid closed their racing season off on a high note on Sunday, 08 November 2015 by claiming gold at the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Three Day Mountain Bike (MTB) Stage Race.

 

Although Stage Three saw Team RECM crossing the finish line in second place, a mere 59 seconds behind Gawie Combrinck and Johann Rabie of Team EAI South Africa, their combined efforts over the three days firmly placed them on the top step of the podium, with an impressive overall finishing time of 08 hours 17 minutes 19 seconds.  “Hats off to Gawie and Johann for giving us a good go today,” said Kleinhans.  “From the start it was clear that Team EAI had a plan to make up the two minute gap to secure the overall second place position.  With about 5km to go we accepted that they were the stronger team, and just focused on enjoying the last kilometres to the finish.  This is our last race in the RECM colours.  It’s been a great journey with our sponsors who have actually become friends.  W2W is the best race.  From the trails, to the food and organisation, the organisers have everything perfectly dialled. ”  Gawie Combrinck and Johan Rabie of Team EAI South Africa came in second, while Adriaan Louw and Hendrik Kruger of Team CONTEGO Pro MTB finished third.

 

Robyn De Groot and Jennie Stenerhag of Team Ascendis Health set the pace in the women’s race claiming victory in a well-deserved combined time of 09 hours 46 minutes 19 seconds.  “Stage Three was fast from the start,” said De Groot.  “Although Jennie and I struggled on Stage Two, we had a good day today as partners, working well together.  It was really nice competing against Candice and Ariane.  With Ascendis Health sponsoring the ladies MTB team this year, it is really special for us to claim the top spot on the podium.  W2W is mountain biking candy.  It doesn’t get better than this.”  Candice Neethling and Ariane Kleinhans of Team RECM Ladies came in second, while Theresa Ralph and Samantha Sanders of Team Galileo Risk Valencia finished third.

 

Power couple Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Carl Pasio of Team Bigla claimed victory in the mixed team category with a combined finishing time of 10 hours 07 minutes and 05 seconds.  “Today I realised that a lack in mountain bike training will definitely cost you,” laughed Moolman-Pasio.  “The stage was really tough.  Carl rode really well today and pulled me through it.  W2W is a great race and a fun way to finish the year.”  Andreas Studer and Carmen Buchacher of Team Craft cycling came in second, while Yolandi Du Toit and Gordon Alan finished third.

 

“The camaraderie, spectacular route and intense competition make the FNB Wines2Whales one of the sought-after races in South Africa. This competition is rapidly becoming a flagship event for cyclists in and outside of South Africa, and FNB Business is delighted to be in a position to enable this experience for the participants, including our clients. We would like to congratulate the winners of the three stages and every cyclist who took part in this year’s race,” said Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO FNB Business.

The prize purse for the 2015 FNB W2W MTB Race was increased by R31 500, taking the overall total to a whopping R381 500.  The overall men’s and women’s teams took home a prize purse of R65 000 after Stage Three.  Runners up were awarded R30 000, while the final team on the podium won R17 500.

 

The 2015 FNB W2W MTB Events attracted an impressive field of 3900 riders (1950 teams of two) over the three events (Adventure, Ride and Race).  Kicking off at the picturesque Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West) teams had to cross through (and over) 13 wineries, 26 private farms, six mountains, historic roads and mountain passes, nature conservation areas (including the Kogelberg Biosphere) before finishing within sight of the famous whales of Hermanus!

Stage Information:

 

Stage One

Start Venue:                   Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West)

Finish Venue:                 Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)

Distance:                          72km

Ascent:                           1620m

 

Stage Two

Start Venue:                   Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)

Finish Venue:                 Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)

Distance:                          67km

Ascent:                           1366m

 

Stage Three

Start Venue:                   Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)

Finish Venue:                 Onrust Caravan Park (just outside Hermanus)

Distance:                          75km

Ascent:                                             1300m

 

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