Entries for the 10th birthday of the FNB Wines2Whales opened on St Valentine’s Day, with organisers promising participants the most glorious, beautiful finish to a mountain bike race yet.
The end of the three events that make up one of the most popular stage races in South Africa has been moved to the Marine Hotel in Hermanus, where the whales that were part of the inspiration for the event will welcome them after their three days of endeavour. The hotel is regarded as the best place to spot whales in a town that has become synonymous with these magnificent mammals. It will complete a poignant and perfect circle for a race that has grown and evolved over the past 10 years, joining the journey from the winelands of the Western Capes to the magnificence of the whales of Hermanus.
“We are very excited about the new finish for 2018,” said race founder Johan Kriegler. “It is fitting that we as riders will cross the line at the 10th FNB Wines2Whale at the Marine Hotel with the ocean and whales in the background. We believe this will be amazing for the riders after three days of glorious riding and also for the spectators who will come to celebrate with them.”
For Gustav Hefer and Fred Coleske, the 10th running of the FNB Wines2Whales will be even more special as they prepare to be first team to have ridden together in all 10 of the events thus far.
“The Wines2Whales has been a special race for us since the first one,” said Coleske. “It has a wonderful atmosphere, the trails around Lourensford and Oak Valley are magnificent. The camaraderie of the riders in the tents and the organisation is what keeps us coming back. I must say that I’m looking forward to the finish in Hermanus. That backdrop with the ocean and hotel will make for a beautiful way to end the race.
“It doesn’t feel like we have been riding this race for 10 years. Gustav and I have clicked as a partnership and suit each other well. I cannot wait for November!”
Preferential online entries for those who rode the 2017 FNB Wines2Whales or were on the waiting list will open on 14 February 2018, while the general public entries open on 16 February 2018. The FNB W2W has become part of the Grandstand Management stable that organises the Cape Epic and has undergone some changes. The three races have been renamed after wines in the area. The first race (26 – 28 October 2018) will be the FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay, the second (29 – 31 October 2018) the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage, while the third race (2 – 4 November 2018) the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz. In keeping with the theme of the 10th celebration, a new experience, the Jeroboam, has been introduced where a team can compete in all three events. There will be limited entries available for the Jeroboam and teams will have to register for this separately.
There is a limit of 675 entries per race. Preferential online entries for 2017 participants and those on the waiting lists open at 08h00 on Wednesday, 14 February 2018, and will only remain open for 48 hours. Public entries will open on Friday, 16 February 2018 at 08h00. Prices per team are R12 800 (no accommodation), R14 500 (standard tented accommodation) and R20 000 (luxury tented accommodation).