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Wines2Whales continues despite overnight evacuations

The tented race village for participants in the FNB Wines2Whales at Oak Valley Wine Estate in Grabouw was evacuated on Monday night due to extremely strong winds.

“Tents and other infrastructure in the race village were damaged by the wind and the race organisers, in consultation with the race emergency services, decided to relocate the riders and crew to nearby schools, halls and hotels,” says Sarah Harrop, FNB Wines2Whales Marketing and Communications Manager.

Harrop reports about 350 people who had been staying in tents on site were housed in the temporary accommodation and bused back to the race village after being given breakfast on Tuesday morning at their respective locations.

She says because of the weather conditions – it also rained heavily overnight and in the early hours of Tuesday morning (30 October) – the start of the Pinotage race was delayed from 08:00 to 11:00 and the course was shortened by about 20 km to 40 km.

“The race village was fully functional again on Tuesday, and riders were back in their tents before the final stage to Hermanus on Wednesday,” Harrop said.

Stage 1, the Chardonay race, started on Friday 26 October.

This is the first of the three FNB Wines2Whales races, designated for elite women cyclists. They also haves many mixed and men only teams. “The women start ahead of the others, as this race is focused on them,” Harrop explained. “R100 000 was paid to the winning team on Sunday afternoon in Hermanus.”

The Summit pairing of Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath tore the women’s field apart on the opening day at the Chardonnay event.

“The South African/German combination attacked from the gun on the climb to Lourensford Neck,” said Harrop. She added the team steadily extended the gap to 11 minutes and 39 seconds at the finish line at Oak Valley Estate, where they were followed across the line by three teams sprinting for second position.

In second place was team Silverback CBC, with Mariske Strauss and Jennie Stenerhag, and in third place was team Ascendis Health, with Robyn de Grood and Michelle Vorster.

The Pinotage race finished yesterday (Wednesday 31 October), after which the last race, the Shiraz event, will take place from Friday 2 until Sunday 4 November. All three races finish at the Marine Hotel in Hermanus.

To follow the action from home, mountain biking fans can visit www.wines2whales.com or follow @w2wmtb.

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