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Photo credit: Nick Muzik.

Despite all three stages of the 2021 FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz event featuring the same top three, in the same finishing order, the racing was exciting throughout. Only 1 minute and 22 seconds separated first and second going into the final stage, from Oak Valley to Lourensford. Additionally, Imbuko Giant were eager to empty their tanks and do all they could to snatch a stage victory on the last opportunity of the race and the season. 

Photo credit: Sam Clark.

“There was no point in holding back today” Marco Joubert, of Imbuko Giant stated. “We decided to empty our tanks in pursuit of stage victory.” “PYGA Euro Steel made a few mistakes in the early kilometres today and Philip [Buys] even crashed. It was after that, in the A-to-Z trails that we went all in” Tristan Nortje said, picking up the story. “Near the second water point we had a minute lead, but after that the trails flattened out and we knew it would be really tough to stay ahead of [Matt] Beers and the PYGA guys on the flat roads. They caught us about a kilometre from the top of the last climb.” 

Photo credit: Sam Clark.

“Today was tough” Beers added to the tale of how the stage unfolded. “First Imbuko Giant got away from us, then on the Gantouw Pass PYGA Euro Steel got away too. We just had to chase and chase; eventually we caught both of them. But again Philip [Buys] and Gert [Heyns] were faster than us and they distanced us in the last few kilometres. It was a great weekend of racing though, and I really appreciate how aggressively PYGA raced the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz.” 

The victors, for their part, were relieved to have not suffered too much, during the stage, from Buys’ crash. “The champagne is starting to find all the cuts and scrapes now” Buys laughed, having been doused in Lourensford MCC by Gert Heyns. “I clipped a tree stump in the A-to-Z trails and went over the bars. Fortunately, despite a bit of swelling above my knee, it didn’t impact my riding at all. We were still able to catch Imbuko Giant and put in a last effort to secure the stage win ahead of Matt [Beers] and Wessel [Botha].”

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Photo credit: Nick Muzik.

“Winning the FNB Wines2Whales means so much to me” Heyns confessed. “It’s something I’ve dreamt about for a long time. We couldn’t have done it without all the hard work the PYGA Euro Steel crew put in behind the scenes.” 

PYGA Euro Steel’s winning time was 7 hours, 33 minutes and 26 seconds. {type}DEV Nanotime were 1 minute and 39 seconds down on the race winners, with Imbuko Giant completing the podium, at 10 minutes and 4 seconds back. Insect Science Pro finished fourth overall, despite Keagan Bontekoning completing the final stage without a saddle after crashing inside of the first 20 kilometres. He and Arno du Toit managed to hold off First Move Sport’s Jaco Venter and Matthew Keyser, who completed the top five.

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Photo credit: NIck Muzik.

FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz Results:
Elite Men | Stage 3:

1. PYGA Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Gert Heyns (2:36:17)
2. {type}DEV Nanotime: Matt Beers & Wessel Botha (2:36:33 | +17)
3. Imbuko Giant: Tristan Nortje & Marco Joubert (2:37:23.5 | +1:07)

Elite Men | General Classification Results after Stage 3:
1. PYGA Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Gert Heyns (7:33:26)
2. {type}DEV Nanotime: Matt Beers & Wessel Botha (7:35:05 | +1:39)
3. Imbuko Giant: Tristan Nortje & Marco Joubert (7:43:30 | +10:04)

Exxaro Jersey | General Classification Results after Stage 3:
1. Fairtree Imperial Cannondale 1: Luyanda Thobigunya & Lorenzo Leroux (9:02:01)
2. Exxaro / RMB: Keneth Kabelo Tshukukudu & William Sello Majapholo (9:39:22 | +37:22)
3. Exxaro / PWC 1: Tlotlo Selala & Halalisani Ndebele (9:41:17 | +39:16)

Sub-Veteran Men | General Classification Results after Stage 3:
1. Anna Foundation 2: Adrian Enthoven & Cory Wallace (9:10:27)    
2. Hollard Namibia: Gerhard Mans & Ingram Cuff (9:11:51 | +1:24)    
3. 2 Man Wolf Pack Andre Vermeulen & Braam Vermeulen (9:24:28.5 | +14:01)

Dimension Data Veteran Men | General Classification Results after Stage 3:
1. Madmacs: Charles Mcfall & Andreas Studer (8:46:58)    
2. RDX Powerbar: David Garrett & Ignus Oosthuizen (9:04:59 | +18:02)
3. Anna Foundation Vets: Hannes & Sakkie Hanekom (9:19:39 | +32:42)

Masters Men | General Classification Results after Stage 3:
1. Cape Airconditioning: Gavin Viljoen & Thorkild Nielsen (9:27:26)
2. Sale's Hire: Shaun Sale & Dawid de Bruin (9:34:30 | +7:05)
3. Q 36.5: Felix Prinz & Mario Kummer (9:36:13 | +8:47)

Mixed Category | General Classification Results after Stage 3:
1. Valley Electrical Titan Racing Mixed: Robert Hobson & Barbara Benko (9:11:15)    
2. SPOT Galileo Risk: Samantha Sanders & Danny Fowler (10:02:07 | +50:52)
3. Madmacs Mixed: Etnard & Sarita Louw (10:15:57 | +1:28:23)

Full results available here.