PYGA Euro Steel 1’s Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys claimed their second stage victory and the overall Champions Title after Stage Three of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) MTB Race at Onrus Caravan Park on Sunday, 05 November 2017.
“It’s not often that things work out according to plan,” says Beukes. “Going into the stage, we knew that we would have to do something at the 40km mark. We sat on the wheels a bit up the drag, and then increased our pace. It’s been a great year. We couldn’t be happier about our win.”
“This is my first W2W win,” admits Buys. “Everything worked out well over the three days. W2W is a great race to end the season off with.”
PYGA Euro Steel 1 completed Stage Three in an impressive time of 02 hours 30 minutes 08 seconds. They claimed the overall victory (after three days of racing) in a combined time of 07 hours 59 minutes 48 seconds over the 210km distance (three stages combined).
Team Investec-Songo.info’s Konny Looser and Christoph Sauser claimed the second spot on the podium, while Team NAD Pro MTB’s Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell finished third.
“I expected this to be the result,” admits Sauser. “I had to dig deep the first two days, and just didn’t have the base. The best team definitely won. They deserve it.”
“I enjoyed the weekend’s racing,” says Looser. “There was a big fight on route today. It’s been super exciting. It’s always nice riding with Christoph. Team PYGA were clever in their riding strategy. They definitely deserve the win. W2W has been great. The route was awesome.”
“It’s always nice fishing at the sea,” says Bell. “W2W is a really enjoyable race. Now we plan to reset and hopefully have a good year in 2018.”
In the women’s race Stage Three was claimed by Team Dormakaba’s Candice Lill and Vera Adrian.
Team Meerendal CBC’s Jennie Stenerhag and Adelheid Morath pipped Team Valencia Ladies’ Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall to the finish claiming the 2nd and 3rd spots on the podium respectively for the stage.
Team Meerendal CBC’s remarkable efforts over the three days however secured them the coveted title of 2017 FNB W2W MTB Champions in the women’s race. Team Meerendal CBC completed three days of racing in a deserving combined time of 09 hours 15 minutes 52 seconds.
“It feels great to end the year off with a win,” says Stenerhag. “Although we had a good lead going into Stage Three, we knew that with mountain biking anything can happen. We did what we could today, but I didn’t have anything left on the climbs. I’ve taken part in W2W six times. I love the trails. This is definitely the best event that I’ve ever taken part in. The Prize Money has also done a lot for women’s racing. W2W is an awesome way to end the season.”
“W2W is a great event,” says Morath. “I really enjoyed it and am happy to be here.”
Team Dormakaba’s Candice Lill and Vera Adrian claimed second place, with Team Valencia Ladies’ Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall rounding off the podium after three days of racing.
“We had a really good start,” says Lill. “We knew that it was important to get to the front to reach the single track first. Once in the single track we pushed the pace. We had a positive race and are happy with today. It was a fantastic way to close off our partnership.”
“We worked on our master plan last night,” laughs Adrian. “It worked perfectly today. We stayed in front. I was able to ride my pace and we gave it our all on the climbs. W2W is a partner race. We definitely rode as a team.”
“Our plan was to do our best,” says Sanders. “You can only go as hard as the body allows. Our effort was good enough for third place. The event has been awesome. W2W really is incredible. The trails are immaculate.”
“I need to work on my sprinting skill,” laughs Mcdougall. “There was a lot of pain, but W2W was a lot of fun.”
It was a hat-trick stage victory for husband and wife duo Martin and Jeannie Dreyer of Team Merchants. They firmly secured the title of Mixed Team Champions in a combined time of 09 hours 57 minutes 21 seconds.
“I’m chuffed that we were able to claim three stage victories,” says Jeannie. “We definitely don’t train the intensity for this type of race. I guess it just shows that our heads are in it. W2W is a magic, gem of an event. It’s slick, neat and clean. There’s no suffering or discomfort. It’s a real treat.”
Team SAICA’s Ila and Darryn Stow claimed the second spot on the podium after three days of racing, while Team Coach1/Globe Flight’s Ian Martin and Louise Ferreira finished third.
The second and last destination stage of the FNB W2W MTB Race, Stage Three started at the Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw) and finished at the Onrus Caravan Park. The route boasted with 71km of spectacular-mountain biking and featured a 1200m ascent. Iconic sections on 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.
“We are delighted to see local and international participants continuing to appreciate what South Africa has to offer, through this incredible event. We would like to congratulate every single cyclist that took part this year, most specifically, the champions of the three stages who have earned their titles in what has been a challenging FNB W2W MTB Race. We are proud to be associated with this event and are looking forward to being a part of its growth year on year,” said Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO FNB Business.
image: Tobias Ginsberg