during the 2021 FNB Wine2Whales 3 day mountain bike event, Stage 3 from Oak Valley to Lourensford. Image by Nick Muzik - PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND FNB W2W
Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill wrapped up the FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay victory with their third stage win of the race on the final day of the event. Behind them, Fairtree outsprinted Galileo Infiniti SPOT to ensure the stage results matched the final general classification standings.
The third and final stage of the 2021 FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay event saw the women who started the day in the various category leader jerseys maintain their overall leads. This meant that Faces Rola, Woolworths Pretty Pedal and the Titletoria Ladies rode home winners in the elite-, sub-veteran- and veterans women’s categories. Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill were the real heroines of the event however, storming to a perfect three-from-three stage wins.
“We hadn’t really planned on getting away so early” Lill recounted of the move which earned them stage honours on the final day. “We were kind of just rolling along and Mariske [Strauss] just decided to go. And I was like ‘okay we’re going’! From the Eikenhof Dam we rode our pace and managed to extend our overall lead. It was a great day. In fact, I think it was my favourite of the three days.”
The Faces Rola team used the Gantouw Pass in particular to extend their advantage. “We had a tail wind coming into the portage” Strauss explained with a smile. “I dismounted cyclocross style, with a bit too much speed, and had to run it out to stay upright. With the tail wind that momentum, kind of just, carried me down the pass.”
“The Lourensford Ultimate is stunning” she continued, praising the final singletrack of the race. “I was looking at the mountains coming into Lourensford, it’s probably my favourite race finish. It’s always special. It was great to be able to have the time to enjoy the ‘gees’ coming into the finish here and savour the victory.”
Behind Strauss and Lill the Fairtree team of Amy McDougall and Jennie Stenerhag were second for the third time. “We had a nice dice with Kim [Le Court] and Mari [Rabie] throughout the FNB Wines2Whales” McDougall stated. “I’m glad we were able to establish a 1 minute and 30 second advantage on Stage 2 because it would have been very stressful sprinting for second on the general classification today.”
“When I started cycling, as a 10-year-old, there were so few girls riding that I was the under 12 boys’ time trial champion,” laughed Mari Rabie. “So, to be able to now take part in a women’s only mountain bike race is very special. I really appreciate what the FNB Wines2Whales and Woolworths have done in creating this event for us. I’m sure that even for the non-elite women it made a massive difference to their enjoyment of the event.”
The sub-veteran’s category was won by Nicola Walker and Kate Slegrova. The Woolworths Pretty Pedal team won all three stages with Almari de Milander and Su-Mari Visser finishing second, ahead of Claudia Schonitz and Diane Obree. In the Dimension Data Veteran women’s race the Titletoria Ladies, Fienie Barnard and Hanlie Booyens were in imperious form. They not only won all three stages but also set a faster time than the younger sub-veterans category winners. Barnard and Booyens were joined on the overall category podium by Jane Seggie and Michelle Lombardi, as well as Jeanie De Villiers and Marleen Lourens.
With the women’s Chardonnay race completed the attention now shifts to the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event. The most relaxed event in the series starts at the Curro School in Hermanus at 07:00 on Monday morning. The action can be followed on www.wines2whales.com; or on the race’s social media handles @wines_2_whales, on Instagram, and @w2wmtb, on Twitter.
FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay:
Stage 3 | Elite Women:
Stage 3 | Sub-Veteran Women
Stage 3 | Veteran Women
General Classification after Stage 3 | Elite Women
General Classification after Stage 3 | Sub-Veteran Women
General Classification after Stage 3 | Veteran Women