Cannondale Factory Racing Win FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz Stage 1

by | Oct 27, 2023 | Events, Bike, Bike Events & Racing, Featured, Sports, Wines2Whales 2023

XCO specialists Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen of Cannondale Factory Racing won the opening stage of the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales elite men’s Shiraz race, but they didn’t have it all their own way.

Cannondale Factory Racing and Imbuko Giant took it to the line with Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen edging out Marco Joubert and Wessel Botha. Behind them, Felix Stehli endured a mechanical and a crash to come home third, alongside defending champion Konny Looser.

Fnb Wines2Whales Chardonnay
Simon Andreassen and Alan Hatherly during stage 1 (c) Sam Clark / Wines2Whales

Soft drizzle fell on Lourensford Wine Estate as the teams prepared to take on the Shiraz course. The stage would be 56 kilometres long with 1300 metres of climbing. Longer steadier climbs made up the opening kilometres, with punchier efforts required in the second half of the day’s route. These short, sharp, climbs provided the launching pad for Hatherly and Andreassen.

“The first hour, hour and fifteen, were pretty steady and I sat in the group saving matches,” Hatherly, the South African cross-country champion noted. “Then in the final 45 minutes, we really went for it. I started to struggle a bit, but Simon and I have raced together a lot and we know how to win stage race sprints as a team.”

How The Racing Played Out

On the opening climb the four pre-race favourite teams established an advantage. With Andreassen driving the pace Cannondale Factory Racing were joined by PYGA Euro Steel, and Imbuko Giant A. Insect Science 1 led the chase, 2 minutes back, with Project Dream SA’s Johan Fourie de Villiers and Jordan Boshoff.

On the long singletrack descent, of the Uitkyk trails, Botha punctured. “It was strange, I didn’t hit anything but my back tyre was losing air slowly,” the Imbuko Giant man explained. “I had to stop and bomb it, but fortunately that was the end of the problem.” His stop cost Botha nearly a minute and put him off the back of the quartet of leading teams.

Joubert maintained faith in his teammate’s ability to chase back and remained with the group. “I caught the group just after Water Point 2 again,” Botha added. “But as soon as I did the pace went crazy!”

After distancing Philip Buys and Alex Miller from PYGA Euro Steel in the leading group, the Cannondale Factory Racing team continued to exert pressure. However, their dominance was challenged when Stehli experienced a mechanical issue, leaving him unable to shift gears. As a result, couldn’t keep up with Hatherly, Andreassen, Joubert, and Botha. This created a scenario where it became a head-to-head battle between Cannondale and Imbuko Giant.

Despite Botha leading the quartet and crossing the finish line first, it was Cannondale Factory Racing that claimed the victory. Joubert found himself boxed in behind the tactical positioning of Hatherly and Andreassen as the cross-country specialists made a final push for the line. Joubert conceded a few tenths of a second, leaving Imbuko Giant and Cannondale Factory Racing neck and neck as they embark on Stage 2.’s string of misfortunes continued as they worked to limit their time losses. In the last 500 meters, Stehli had a collision with a tree and endured a severe crash. The impact resulted in a broken carbon handlebar and forced him to push his bike to the finish line. Consequently, he and Looser conceded 1 minute and 34 seconds to the stage winners. Further behind, Philip Buys faced a challenging final 15 kilometres, which cost him and his PYGA Euro Steel teammate, Alex Miller, 3 minutes and 25 seconds compared to Cannondale Factory Racing. Insect Science’s Arno du Toit and Keagan Bontekoning completed the top five, trailing by an additional 57 seconds.

Fnb Wines2Whales Chardonnay
Winners of the 2023 Wines2Whales Shiraz Stage 1

In the battle for the Exxaro Jerseys Kusaselihle Ngidi and Damon Terblanche made the most of a strong day on the bike to build a commanding early lead. The FAIRTREE DP WORLD CANNONDALE 1 combination was sixteenth overall, earning themselves the white CIOVITA Amateurs jerseys as well as the Exxaro Resources category lead.

FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz Results

Elite Men | Stage 1:

1. Cannondale Factory Racing: Simon Andreassen & Alan Hatherley (2:07:22)

2. Imbuko Giant A: Marco Joubert & Wessel Botha (2:07:22 | st)

3. Konny Looser & Felix Stehli (2:08:56 | +1:34)

4. PYGA Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Alex Miller (2:10:47 | +3:25)

5. Insect Science: Arno du Toit & Keagan Bontekoning (2:11:44 | +4:22)

Exxaro Jersey | Stage 1

1. FAIRTREE DP WORLD CANNONDALE 1: Kusaselihle Ngidi and Damon Terblanche (2:23:38)

2. EXXARO/PEPTO 1: Halalisani Ndebele & William Majapholo (2:31:21 | +7:43)

3. EXXARO ACADEMY 3: Siyabonga Ntsele & Gilbert Mathaba (2:33:14 | +9:35)

For more info on the 2023 Wines2Whales races click here.

Event Coverage