Wines2Whales Race Wrap-Up

Stage 1 – Friday 7 November

The best of the best gathered at Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West) on Friday, 07 November 2014 to take on the much anticipated FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race.  Stage One saw riders having to complete a 72km route that included having to trek over the historic Gantouw Pass, the only piece of trail to feature a compulsory portage, before crossing the finish line at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw).

Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler claimed the Stage One victory at the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race on Friday, 07 November 2014 crossing the finish line first in an awe-inspiring time of 03 hours 09 minutes 34 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser in action on the day. Photo Credit: Volume Photography
Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler claimed the Stage One victory at the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race on Friday, 07 November 2014 crossing the finish line first in an awe-inspiring time of 03 hours 09 minutes 34 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser in action on the day. Photo Credit: Volume Photography

Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler took no prisoners, crossing the finish line first in an awe-inspiring time of 03 hours 09 minutes 34 seconds, just over 7 minutes ahead of their closest rivals.  According to Sauser, it’s great to claim his first Wines2Whales stage win.  “Today was very good and we are very happy to have won by a big margin.  I’ve been in Italy on holiday for a month and have done very little training.  Luckily I like to stay fit for fun.  I’ve been looking forward to riding with Konny and am very happy to have won the stage for songo.info.  Now we will work hard to defend it.  This is definitely one of my favorite events”.  Rourke Croeser and Travis Walker of Team Kargo Pro Team came in second, while Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrink of Team EAI Cycling finished third.

The mixed team race was dominated by Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill of Team Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E, who crossed the finish line in 03 hours 46 minutes 55 seconds.   “It was awesome out there,” said Moolman.  “The hardest part for me was the portage section.  My fitness was definitely lacking.  Darren is a great partner and I am really enjoying the race so far”.  Fienie and Kobus Barnard of Team Kromco1 came in second, while Mariske Strauss and Hannes Hanekom of Team Giant/Orange Monkey finished third.

Jennie Stenerhag and Candice Neethling of Team Team Cape Brewing Company/Time Freight Velolife claimed victory in the women’s race in a well-deserved time of 03 hours 48 minutes 03 seconds.  “The stage was beautiful,” said Neethling.  “It was really tough, but beautiful.  The portage section was really hard, while the trails were really enjoyable.  Our strengths are nicely matched.  All in all it was a beautiful day”.  Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson of Team Biogen Toyota Asrin Cycling came in second, while Theresa Ralph and Jeannie Dreyer of Team Tribe Suunto USN finished third.

“Stage Two will be a Play Day for riders,” said Johan Kriegler, FNB W2W MTB Director.  “They will get to experience the best bridges and structures built for the sport of mountain biking.  Spectacular bridges to look out for will include Witklippies, Raka, Swing, Ark, Mamba, Boomslang and Pofadder.  I don’t need to tell these riders to keep off of the breaks.  They know how to enjoy these sections to the utmost.  They will also get their first taste of the Peri Kromco Play Park”.

Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler set the course on fire on Saturday, 09 November 2014 completing Stage Two of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race that started and finished at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)in a lightning fast time of 02 hours 35 minutes 18 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Konny Looser and Christoph Sauser in action on the day. PHOTO CREDIT: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA
Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler set the course on fire on Saturday, 09 November 2014 completing Stage Two of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race that started and finished at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)in a lightning fast time of 02 hours 35 minutes 18 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Konny Looser and Christoph Sauser in action on the day. PHOTO CREDIT: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

Stage 2 – Saturday 8 November

Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler set the course on fire completing Stage Two of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race that started and finished at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw) on Saturday, 09 November 2014 in a lightning fast time of 02 hours 35 minutes 18 seconds.

Fondly referred to as the ‘Play Day’, Stage Two consisted of a 67km route that featured the best bridges and structures built for the sport of mountain biking including the much loved Paul Cluver Amphi Bike Park and the  madly creative Peri-Kromco Play Park.

“The first part of the race was open gravel.  No one seemed to want to create speed, so Rourke Croeser and I took control,” said Looser.  “Having a good Stage One lead, the other team had to make up speed.  I could see Travis was struggling, but Rourke was pushing hard.  It was at King Of The Mountain that Sauser started to sprint, so I just followed.  The stage was super fun with nice single trails.  The nice thing about the stage not being so long is that you can go harder and try everything.  Sauser has been my idol since I started riding at the age of ten.  It’s a real honor for me to be riding Wines2Whales with him”.  Rourke Croeser and Travis Walker of Team Kargo Pro Team came in second, while Hanco-Kachelhoffer and Chris Wolhunter of Team Altech Autopage Pro Cycling finished third.

In the women’ field Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson of Team Biogen Toyota / Asrin Cycling were the team to beat crossing the finish line in an impressive time of 03 hours 42 seconds.   “I’ve never ridden anything like this before,” said De Groot.  “Stage Two featured the most amazing trails from start to finish.  It was fast and smooth, absolute bliss for any mountain biker.  I’ve only heard good things about the Wines2Whales.  After two days of riding, the event is definitely living up to its reputation”.  Jennie Stenerhag and Candice Neethling of Team Cape Brewing Company / Time freight Velolife came in second, while Theresa Ralph and Jeannie Dreyer of Team Tribe Suunto USN finished third.

Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill of Team Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E claimed their second victory in the mixed team category completing the stage in a well-deserved time of 03 hours 04 minutes 46 seconds.   According to Moolman, her lack of experience showed on the single track.  “I am just happy to have stayed up right.  The stage is beautiful with flowing single track.  It was a nice day and I managed to stay within myself.  Wines2Whales is a wonderful event and I’d love to experience more”.  Fienie and Kobus Barnard of Team Kromco1 came in second, while Mariske Strauss and Hannes Hanekom of Team Giant/Orange Monkey finished third.

Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill of Team Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E secured the overall mixed team champions’ title completing the three MTB stages in a combined time of 10 hours 13 minutes 44 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill in action on the day. PHOTO CREDIT: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA
Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill of Team Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E secured the overall mixed team champions’ title completing the three MTB stages in a combined time of 10 hours 13 minutes 44 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill in action on the day. PHOTO CREDIT: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

Stage 3 – Sunday 9 November

The third and final stage of the 2014 FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Race got underway at Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw) on Sunday, 09 November 2014.  Setting a blistering pace, riders needed to complete a 74km route that included tricky Houwhoek Switchback Single Tracks and the infamous Hamilton Russel climb, before crossing the finish line at Onrus Caravan Park (just outside Hermanus) where eager family members and friends awaited.

Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser of Team Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler claimed two stage victories and the overall men’s champions’ title at the 2014 FNB W2W MTB Race completing the three day MTB stage race  in a lightning fast time of 08 hours 36 minutes 29 seconds.  “It’s great to win my first Wines2Whales Race,” said Sauser.  “In the past I’ve entered as part of a corporate team, while last year I rode with Sipho Madolo.  We managed a 5th place overall.  Everything came together for Konny and me this year.  Every race is different.  I like the character of Wines2Whales.  Three days of real trail riding, not to mention starting in the Winelands and ending by the sea.  It’s very cool”.  Rourke Croeser and Travis Walker of Kargo Pro Team came in second, while Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck of Team EAI Cycling finished third.

Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson of Team Biogen Toyota / Asrin Cycling claimed the women’s team title completing the three days of racing in a combined time of 10 hours 08 minutes 03 seconds.  “I suffered today,” said De Groot.  “I literally just saw Catherine’s back.  She was a great partner.  I particularly enjoyed this race.  It’s the finishing touches that make it stand out, like having wet towels on the finish line.  Being the last race of the year, it’s really good to finish on a high”.  Jennie Stenerhag and Candice Neethling of Team Cape Brewing Company / Time freight Velolife claimed the second spot on the podium, while Anriette Schoeman and Yolandi Du Toit of Team Africa Silks Garmin finished third.

Ashleigh Moolman and Darren Lill of Team Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E secured the overall mixed team champions’ title completing the three MTB stages in a combined time of 10 hours 13 minutes 44 seconds.  According to Moolman, the stage was tough.  “I was feeling my stage one crash today.  Stage three’s route was nice, undulating with beautiful scenery.  We are happy to maintain our lead.  The Wines2Whales is an amazing event, from the organization to the food and the scenery.  I really enjoyed my first stage race”.  Mariske Strauss and Hannes Hanekom of Team Giant/Orange Monkey came in second, while Fienie and Kobus Barnard of Team Kromco1 finished third.

“The 2014 FNB Wines2Whales has been everything we hoped for. The overwhelming interest from cyclists around the country proves that this competition is becoming one of the most anticipated events on the cycling calendar. Among its many attributes, we believe that the routes and the camaraderie are some of the unique features which set the FNB Wines2Whales apart. We would like to congratulate all the participants and more importantly, the winners of the three stages,” Michael Vacy-Lyle, CEO FNB Business.

Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson of Team Biogen Toyota / Asrin Cycling claimed the women’s team title completing the three days of racing in a combined time of 10 hours 08 minutes 03 seconds. See here (front to back): Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson in action during Stage Three. PHOTO CREDIT: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA
Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson of Team Biogen Toyota / Asrin Cycling claimed the women’s team title completing the three days of racing in a combined time of 10 hours 08 minutes 03 seconds. See here (front to back): Robyn De Groot and Catherine Williamson in action during Stage Three. PHOTO CREDIT: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

GC Results

Men:

  1. Konny Looser & Christoph Sauser (Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized/Wheeler) 8:36:29
  2. Rourke Croeser & Travis Walker (Kargo Pro Team) 8:45:04
  3. Johann Rabie & Gawie Combrinck (Team EAI Cycling) 8:54:35

Women:

  1. Robyn De Groot & Catherine Williamson (Biogen Toyota / Asrin Cycling) 10:08:03
  2. Jennie Stenerhag & Candice Neethling (Team CBC/ Time freight Velolife) 10:10:09
  3. Anriette Schoeman & Yolandi Du Toit (Africa Silks Garmin) 11:03:21

Mixed:

  1. Darren Lill & Ashleigh Moolman (Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E) 10:13:44
  2. Hannes Hanekom & Mariske Strauss (Giant/Orange Monkey) 10:25:23
  3. Fienie Barnard & Kobus Barnard (kromco1) 10:27:54

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