Mountain bikers in action during Stage One of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Adventure. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg

Cool weather conditions proving to be the norm at the FNB W2W MTB Adventure, the first destination stage of the event saw an impressive field of 1344 riders (672 teams of two) having to complete a 68km MTB route with a 1420m ascent, from Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West) to the festival village at the majestic Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw), home for the next two day.

Team SALiRE’s Robert Cragg and Charles Mcfall snatched the Stage One victory in a time of 03 hours 23 minutes 15 seconds. According to Cragg the stage was awesome. “We started slower than the other teams and just picked the guys up along the way. The routes, trails, single tracks are awesome. The event is just world class. Our goal is to make top three. We’ll just see how it goes.” Team Freewheel Cycology’s Gavin Klerck and Lionel Murray came in second, while Team Gedis’ Frikkie Hartog and Gerard Dirks finished third.

Defending women’s team champions Lolita Van Aardt and Simone Rhoda Van Aardt of Team SALiRE Women's crossed the finish line first in a deserving time of 04 hours 01 minutes 10 seconds. “We were initially worried about the rain, but it was actually beneficial today,” says Lolita. “The W2W routes are fantastic. Simone’s riding has improved dramatically since 2015. She is really looking forward to Stage Two’s single track.” Team Pharmachoice Ladies’ Michelle Van Aswegen and Emma Pienaar came in second, while Team Rugged Roses’ Caren Mills and Dawn Herbert finished third.

Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Hamish Knowles were the mixed team to beat on the day, claiming the top spot on the podium in 03 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds. According to Ralph, Stage One was great. “Each year I take part in the FNB W2W MTB Adventure with a client of my sponsor,” says Ralph. “Today’s stage was lovely, fast and flowing. I am happy that the portage section is over. It does add to the event though. Our goal will be to take the mixed team title.” Team At Last’s Philip Lambrecht and Jane Seggie came in second, while Team Cycles Direct’s Alan Van Schoor and Jenny Close finished third.

Stage Two: Saturday, 05 November 2016
Start Venue: Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)
Finish Venue: Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw)
Start Time: 07:00
Distance & Climb: 64km / 1400m

Family and friends are invited to show support on route. The Event’s Spectator Guide can be downloaded here: