Cannondale Factory Racing Extend Lead At FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz

by | Oct 28, 2023 | Events, Bike, Bike Events & Racing, Sports, Wines2Whales 2023

Stage 2 of the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz race saw the second sprint finish in two days. Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen of Cannondale Factory Racing once again took line honours and in the process extended their overall lead.

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The lead bunch close to Oak Valley, Garbouw (c) Sam Clark / Wines2Whales

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.

On Saturday, 28 October, Marco Joubert crashed on the Oak Valley finish line, handing victory to Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen. The Cannondale Factory Racing pair had controlled the pace throughout the stage but were unable to shake off Imbuko Giant. PYGA Euro Steel finished on the podium for the day but was unable to overturn their deficit to, who remained third overall.

“We put in a few digs but we just couldn’t shake Marco [Joubert] and Wessel [Botha]. We would have liked to create a gap, but we were also confident if it came down to a sprint,” Hatherly commented afterwards.

“Two stages and two victories are a great return for us,” he added. “Though anything can happen on Stage 3, especially with the portage down Gantouw Pass. You never know how your legs are going to react after running down there.”

How The Racing Played Out On FNB Wines2Whales Stage 2

Due to the rain that had fallen on the Oak Valley and Paul Cluver wine estates during the previous Chardonnay and Pinotage events, the decision was made to shorten Stage 2. Race Director Hendrico Burger removed some of the muddiest and most rain-affected trails from the 68-kilometre course, making it 55 kilometres in length. This decision was widely welcomed by the riders.

Gert Heyns of Valley Electrical Titan Racing praised the change, saying, “I enjoyed today more than I have in previous years. They took out the damaged singletracks, leaving in the ones which drain better. Those were grippy and fun in the slightly wet conditions.”

PYGA Euro Steel were the early aggressors, as they had the most to gain after slipping off the pace in the closing stages of the previous day. Arno du Toit of Insect Science noted, “Phil [Buys] made it tough early on. This type of terrain suits him and he had us on the back foot. We got distanced, fought our way back, and then I crashed.”

Insect Science was not the only team to struggle under the pressure of Philip Buys and Alex Miller. Konny Looser and Felix Stehli of also dropped from the lead group, leaving PYGA Euro Steel, Imbuko Giant A, and Cannondale Factory Racing to contest the stage victory. Buys admitted, “Initially I felt good, but in the last 40 minutes I started to suffer a bit too and we had to knock the pace off slightly.”

This meant that the men in yellow were out front alone with their primary rivals from Stage 1 for the final half hour or so. Coming into the final bend, the Cannondale Factory Racing team held prime positions and opened out their sprints perfectly, powering across the line to take stage honours. Behind them, Joubert lost control and briefly hit the deck. The Imbuko Giant rider was fortunately unharmed and crossed the line 12 seconds after the stage winners, after having picked himself up.

That run down the compulsory portage also had the Fairtree DP World Cannondale team slightly concerned. The Exxaro and Amateur Jersey leaders were thus eager to extend their general classification advantages ahead of the final stage. In the Exxaro Jersey competition, for riders from historically disadvantaged communities, they added 4 minutes to their buffer over Obvious Khorombi and Masixole Zondani, who leapfrogged up the standings into second. The Exxaro/Tamela 1 combination will start the last day with 13 minutes and 48 seconds down. In the battle for the white, Amateur, jerseys, Kusaselihle Ngidi and Damon Terblanche ceded 1 minute to their Fairtree DP World Cannondale 2 stablemates but bested the Mullets – Stuart Marais and Oliver Munnik – by 43 seconds to extend their overall advantage to 6 minutes and 45 seconds.

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.

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The lead bunch on Stage 2 of FNB Wines2Whales (c) Sam Clark / Wines2Whales

FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz Results

Elite Men | Stage 2:

1. Cannondale Factory Racing: Simon Andreassen & Alan Hatherley (1:59:48)

2. Imbuko Giant A: Marco Joubert & Wessel Botha (2:00:00 | +12)

3. PYGA Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Alex Miller (2:01:32 | +44)

4. Insect Science: Arno du Toit & Keagan Bontekoning (2:02:17 | +2:29)

5. Konny Looser & Felix Stehli (2:02:19 | +2:31)

Elite Men’s General Classification after Stage 2:

1. Cannondale Factory Racing: Simon Andreassen & Alan Hatherley (4:07:10)

2. Imbuko Giant A: Marco Joubert & Wessel Botha (4:07:22 | +12)

3. Konny Looser & Felix Stehli (4:11:16 | +4:05)

4. PYGA Euro Steel: Philip Buys & Alex Miller (4:12:20 | +5:09)

5. Insect Science: Arno du Toit & Keagan Bontekoning (4:14:01 | +6:51)

Exxaro Jersey | Stage 2

1. FAIRTREE DP WORLD CANNONDALE 1: Kusaselihle Ngidi and Damon Terblanche (4:43:28)

2. EXXARO/TAMELA 1: Obvious Khorombi & Masixole Zondani (4:57:16 | +13:48)

3. EXXARO ACADEMY 3: Siyabonga Ntsele & Gilbert Mathaba (5:01:51 | +18:23)

For more info on the 2023 Wines2Whales races click here and read all about what happened on Stage 1, here.

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