The FNB Wines2Whales was born out of the desire to create a world-class three-day stage race in the Western Cape, and the three events, named after the wines of the area, have become a popular adventure for avid mountain bikers.
The route has been perfected over the past 11 years and the traditional route saw an immense change as the FNB Wines2Whales took riders from the whales of Onrus to the wines of the scenic Lourensford.
This mountain biking experience is unlike any other in South Africa as it explores a mix of terrain, including private farm roads, majestic mountain singletracks and a historic wagon path.
Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill soared to victory with their third stage win of the race on the final day of the event. The third and final stage of the 2021 FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay event saw the duo, who started the day in the various category leader jerseys, maintain their overall leads. These powerful women dominated the event, storming to a perfect three-from-three stage wins.
“We hadn’t really planned on getting away so early” Lill said. “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,” she adds as per FNB Wines2Whales.
On the other hand, Strauss explains: “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. “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,” Strauss adds.
Picture: FNB Wines2Whales / Sam Clark