The Western Cape’s most prestigious three-day mountain bike stage race, the Contego Wines2Whales, offers a challenge yet to be tamed by Team RE:CM professionals Waylon Woolcock and Neil MacDonald. But they intend to change that over the next three days after securing a late entry into the event.
After having stood on podiums, either in stages or overall at most of the country’s stage races, the 2011 joBerg2c champions are relishing their latest quest, which starts on Friday at Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West and ends on Sunday at Onrus Beach, Hermanus, a world renowned whale-watching spot.
During the three days, the racers will cross through (and over) 13 wineries, 26 private farms, six mountains, historic passes and nature conservation areas – including the Kogelberg Biosphere – before finishing within sight of the famous whales of Hermanus.
“We’re looking for a good result for sure,” said Woolcock. “A stage win and a podium on final General Classification are probably within our reach. The depth of competition in general at stages races is higher this year than in 2011, so it’s not going to be easy, but we’re not going to let that worry us. We’re keen to end the year off on a high note.”
Both riders showed they’re in peak form after finishing first (MacDonald) and second (Woolcock) with different partners at the recent FedGroup Berg and Bush stage race in KwaZulu-Natal. Woolcock has recovered from a bout of illness that prevented him from racing the final round of the Nissan Trailseeker Series in the North West province this past weekend, a race that MacDonald won.
Among other podium contenders that will be on the start line are two-time ABSA Cape Epic champions, Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander (36ONE Songo Specialized), Renay Goustra and Matthys Beukes (RSA Web/CangoMTB), DominicnCalitz and Craig Boyes (Contego 28E), Adriaan Louw and Louis Bresler Knipe (Contego 28E) and Ruan du Toit and Charles Keey (Blend Properties).
The familiar black and yellow Team RE:CM kit won’t only be visible at the front end of the race. Team RE:CM owner and now retired road cycling legend, Malcolm Lange will be partnering RE:CM Executive Chairman, Piet Viljoen, a passionate mountain biker in his own right.
“I’m looking forward to tackling the Wines2Whales with Piet. Obviously he and I aren’t going to be super-fast, but we’ll be giving it our best shot on the level of fitness we’ve been able to develop around our busy careers and family lives. We’re going to enjoy the experience, meet others with mountain bikingpassion and have fun,” smiled Lange.