The third and final stage of the 2017 FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Ride started at the picturesque Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw) on Wednesday, 01 November 2017. Before crossing the finish line at Onrus Caravan Park riders had to complete an action packed 71km route that featured a 1200m ascent.
Iconic sections on the Stage Three route included passing the Houw Hoek Inn, the oldest hotel in South Africa, meandering through the quaint town of Botriver past the Botriver School, experiencing the magnificent Wildekrans and Hermanus Trails, Gaf-se-Bos, the Fruitways-Onrus Beach Crossing and the PERI-Onrus river crossing to name just a few.
The 2017 FNB W2W MTB Ride saw hat trick victories for the leading men’s, women’s and mixed team after Stage Three.
Team ACE Lesotho’s Leonhard Lukoschek (Germany) and Phetetso Monese (Lesotho) were on top form obliterating the 71km Stage Three route in 03 hours 22 seconds. Team ACE Lesotho completed all three stages of the2017 FNB W2W MTB Ride, a combined total of 210km, in an impressive combined time of 09 hours 17 minutes 51 seconds. “I really enjoyed W2W,” says Lukoschek. “I enjoyed the nature and the people were amazing. The support on route was unheard of. It’s a totally different experience compared to one day races.”
According to Monese W2W was great. “I am really happy with my partner. I was worried in the beginning knowing that he’s not a mountain biker, but he did really well. Being able to successfully defend my title is a great feeling. I am really happy with the win.”
Team Transporters’ Steven Bark and Fabian Valsechi placed second overall after three days of racing, with Team Tallboys’ Michael Van Niekerk and Trevor Baptiste coming in third.
In the mixed team race, Siblings Stephan and Mariske Strauss of Team Oak Racing claimed to take it easy on the day. “Today was open roads and jeep track,” says Stephan. “It was actually a rest day. We just stuck with the bunch and they pulled us through until the end.”
“Today was hard but amazing,” says Mariske. “A point to point stage is always nice. Our Stage Three strategy was just to stick with the leading guys. It was an absolute pleasure to ride with my brother.”
Team Oak Racing completed Stage Three in a well-deserved time of 03 hours 07 minutes 59 seconds. Their combined winning time over all three stages is 09 hours 56 minutes 20 seconds.
Team Giant Durbanville’s Julien Louw and Colleen De Oliveira placed second overall after three days of racing, with Team Haaskat’s Russell Lund and Anneke Hanekom coming in third.
Team Defenders’ Jana Kruger and Ilse Viljoen complete Stage Three in 03 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds. “We could feel stage one and two in our legs this morning,” says Kruger. “I stumbled over an A-frame today. Luckily my bike was fine and I only nicked my finger. From there it was smooth sailing though. The single track was lovely. I really enjoyed it.”
“W2W was spectacular,” says Viljoen. “This was the best ride ever. We definitely want to come back next year.”
Team Defenders completed all three stages of the FNB W2W MTB Ride in a combined time of 11 hours 50 minutes 22 seconds.
Team Pace Of Mind’s Halcyone Muller and Heidi Nieuwoudt placed second overall after three days of racing, with Team Pool Nurse’s Alta Kriegler and Sunette Beyers coming in third.
“The FNB W2W MTB Ride offers athletes of all abilities the chance to enjoy breath-taking scenery, challenging hills and amazing single track riding. FNB would like to congratulate all the participants, with special acknowledgement for the winners. We are eagerly awaiting the last event, the FNB W2W MTB Race,” said Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO FNB Business.