Cape Town - Matt Beers and Wessel Botha (NAD)
won the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz on Sunday after another drama-filled day of racing
on a course that had to be rerouted overnight to avoid protests near Hermanus.
The third and final stage ended in a
sprint involving five teams with Under-23 cross country world champion Alan
Hatherly of South Africa and his Danish team-mate Simon Andreassen (Spur
Specialized) getting across the line first. Belgians Frans Claes and renowned
road rider Jasper Stuyven (Waypoint Leuven) were second with Beers and Botha
Late last night the Wines2Whales
organisers were instructed by emergency services in Hermanus to stay away from
the town - where the race was scheduled to end - because of the protests. A
road near the town had been blocked by burning tyres and rocks.
A decision was taken to hold the
stage in the Elgin/Grabouw area on an out-and-back course starting and
finishing at Oak Valley wine estate. The race’s route team worked through the
night to plan a new course and then mark it. The stage they came up with was
56km long and was mostly held on trails in the area that had not been used in
the previous two stages.
“It was a really cool course ... they
did really well to design it and mark it in that time,” said Botha afterwards.
The 19-year-old from Pretoria and
Beers began the final stage with a 2 minutes and 54 seconds cushion. They had a
setback halfway through the ride when Beers got a puncture. Their support team
of Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell (NAD 2) was with the front group “so we
swopped a wheel and then it was a mad dash to get back”, said Botha.
They were helped when the front
riders missed a route marker and had to turn back.
“We just all rode together from
there. For the last five kays we just had to hang tight,” said Beers. After
celebrating on the line in a spray of champagne, Beers said his first Wines2Whales win “is such a good feeling”.
For Botha it was his first win in a
major stage race and the more experienced Beers said “Wessel has been really
great … our riding styles are very similar and we gelled very well”.
Hatherly had also suffered a
puncture early on in the ride and chased back after plugging it. At about 40km
he and Andreassen caught the front group and immediately attacked up a
“Then we took a wrong turn and that’s
where everybody came together again,” he said. Hatherly and Andreassen were,
however, able to celebrate their second stage win in two days - they had also
won Stage 2 in a sprint.
Andreassen, a former junior world
champion, said the course had been quite dusty and, because of the late
rerouting, they had little idea what lay ahead: “But it was the same for
everybody, so we’ve got no complaints.”
Second in the dash for the line were
Claes and Stuyven, an accomplished road rider who finished fifth at the
Paris Roubaix classic this year and who was taking part in his first mountain
Stuyven said he had gone for skills
training in Stellenbosch the day before the event and became more comfortable
on a mountain bike as the race progressed. “On the first day I bonked (ran out
of energy) but yesterday and today were great. I enjoyed it a lot but I’ve
still got a lot to learn on a mountain bike,” he added.
Bell and Beers were third in the
sprint, fourth went to Calle Friberg and HB Kruger (HiQ Ellsworth) and
Bell/Combrinck finished fifth.
Another team celebrating their
accomplishment were Dutchmen Mitchel Steenman and Matthijs Jasperse, the only
riders to finish the Jereboam - all three three-day Wines2Whales events
(the Chardonnay, Pinotage and Shiraz).
Steenman, an Olympic rower who
stands a full 2m tall, said they had enjoyed their nine days of riding and the
new course on Sunday had made for bit of a change from what they had
expected. They finished the stage in 2 hours and 33 minutes, placing them a
commendable 30th overall. They also won the whale category for teams in which
both riders weigh more than 90kg.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have
finished them all,” said Jasperse before the pair headed off for the airport
and their flight back to Holland.
Wines2Whales Other Category
Results | Shiraz Stage 3:
Sub vets: Team NAD 2 (Nico
Bell/Gawie Combrinck) 7:43.09,8
Vets: Dormakaba 3 (Nico
Pfitzenmaier/Paris Basson) 8:22.37,8
Masters: Robert Daniel (Doug
Brown/Robert Sim) 8:54.56,5
Mixed: Rockhopper Adventures (Corne
Barnard/Mariske Strauss) 8:56.55,6
Exxaro: BMT Fairtree 1 (Baphelele
Mvovo/Luyanda Thovigunya) 8:48.23,6
Wines2Whales Results | Shiraz
1. Spur Specialized (Alan
Hatherly/Simon Andreassen) 2:13.06,4
2. Waypoint Leuven (Frans
Claes/Jasper Stuyven) 2:13.07,9
3. Team NAD (Matthew Beers/Wessel
4. HiQ Ellsworth (Calle
Friberg/Hendrik Kruger) 2:13.12,9
5. Team NAD 2 (Nico Bell/Gawie Combrinck)
Wines2Whales Results | Shiraz
General Classification after Stage 3:
1. Team NAD (Matthew Beers/Wessel
2. Spur Specialized (Alan
Hatherly/Simon Andreassen) 7:38.16,3
3. Team NAD 2 (Nico Bell/Gawie
4. Waypoint Leuven (Frans
Claes/Jasper Stuyven) 7:44.38,9
5. HiQ Ellsworth (Calle
Friberg/Hendrik Kruger) 7:46.56,4