We were able to pull Adriaan Louw, Team Contego team manager and professional rider, from his bike to comment on this weekend’s Wines2Whales race.
Wines2Whales takes riders from Lourensford Wines Estate in Somerset West to Onrus just outside Hermanus, the FNB Wines2Whales is a mountain bike journey that tests, tantalises and rewards participants with its attention to detail, remarkable trails and sublime course design. – Stillwatersports
Who is your teammate for this year?
Vinzent Dorn, the German MTB Champ. W2W is a very fast paced race that requires an XC style depth. Vinzent is a very fast XC racer and visiting South Africa for training during their winter. To me he was the perfect fit as the distances is suitable to a younger rider and someone that is confident to race against other Europeans. You often find that someone that does a race for the first time comes in with a bit more motivation and an eagerness to throw down some speed. It is a long shot to the podium with such a strong field but we have no reason to believe that it is out of reach.
Are you aiming for a podium position over this weekend?
I’ve done the W2W since inception and it is a race that I look forward to each year. Their support of pro riders through bigger prize purses have attracted a bigger and bigger field each year which adds a lot of depth and intensity to the race with this year being no exception. I would like to stay within the top 3 this year and I hope that the mix of youthful depth and experience with the race will help us in our quest.
What can we expect from you and Vinzent riding as a team?
As professional athletes there is a certain level of professionalism and skill that you can expect from your partner and even as a new partnership we don’t have any difficulty understanding what needs to be done en route and how to read a race.
Team Contego Mountain bike team chasing the dream, #bearhunting in the mountains and leaving a better sport behind.
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Andrew Hill and Adriaan Louw were able to play it safe on the final day en route to securing the overall title at the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race at Addo, near Port Elizabeth, on Sunday.
Even though they yielded the final stage to Kargo Pro’s Marco Joubert and Jurgens Uys, the Contego-TIB Insurance outfit ran out comfortable winners after completing the three tough stages in a combined time of 8:39:02.
Joubert and Uys, who hail from PE and Somerset West respectively, were runners-up in 8:56:56. Cycle Lab’s Andrew Mclean and former Springbok rugby player Joel Stransky filled the third place on the podium in 9:24:57.
Africa Silks-Valencia’s Anriette Schoeman and former national cross country champion Samantha Sanders swept to a comfortable victory in the women’s category after winning all three stages for a total time of 10:50:04.
In the mixed section, the Head Over Hills pairing of Neill Ungerer and Yolande de Villiers were equally unchallenged as they rode to the title in 9:41:55.
Reflecting on his second victory in three years, Hill said they were highly satisfied with their performance after achieving their goal of top place on the podium.
“We enjoyed the whole racing experience very much,” said the 34-year-old Durbanite, who won at his first attempt in 2014 alongside Paarl team-mate Louw.
“We worked hard to get the lead on Saturday and we could feel that today, but the objective was to aim for the overall win.
“The first day was unfortunate but that set our minds right and we put our heads together and said we have to go out there and do what we are paid to do.”
Disaster struck when the duo went off course on the opening day while leading and lost all of their advantage, but a determined effort on the second stage saw them create a lead that almost made the overall win a formality.
“Yesterday did take quite a bit out of our legs, but today we were very relaxed and chilled.
“After a hard day’s work that’s what you want out of mountain biking – to remember why you are on the bike and why you actually race.”
Even though they have their disagreements, Hill said their partnership worked extremely well.
“We do have a little fight at times, but get on very well and it’s great to ride with a mate. He is a good friend; we’re almost like brothers.”
Despite a string of cycling triumphs in her illustrious career, the 38-year-old Schoeman, from Port Elizabeth, said she and Sanders, who lives in Hoedspruit in Mpumalanga, were thrilled with their overall victory.
“Winning is always a big motivator for me,” said the multiple national road champion.
“I’m a really competitive person and set high standards for myself. This is a really special race.”
Mountain bike pros Andrew Hill and Adriaan Louw will be out to re-assert their authority on the three-day PwC Great Zuurberg Trek when it takes place just outside Port Elizabeth from June 3 to 5.
The TIB Insurance-Contego team made light work of the inaugural event two years ago, claiming a hat-trick of stage wins en route to the overall title.
Photographer: Ewald Sadie
Last year Hill, who races out of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, joined forces with Cape Town’s Chris Wolhuter, but had to settle for the runners-up spot.
This time Wolhuter will team up with new partner Craig Boyes and the Imbuko-Freewheel Cycology outfit should be strong contenders after dominating the Liberty Winelands MTB Encounter in mid-April.
“Coming back to Zuurberg is always a treat for me,” said the 34-year-old Hill, who placed fifth overall in last month’s nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c.
“I really think the event has something special, even to the seasoned mountain biker.
“The trails, views and the Eastern Cape hospitality are up there among the best in the country and I love heading back to take part.”
Hill said he was looking forward to partnering with the 25-year-old Louw, who hails from Paarl in the Western Cape, for another shot at the title.
“Adriaan and I get on well off the bike, but, more importantly, we gel on the bike, really working together when it is called for.
“He is going well at the moment and it will be a great advantage to be able to tap into his experience and strengths in our bid to regain the title.”
While their focus will be on racing, Hill said they were looking forward to the overall experience of competing at Zuurberg after a busy start to the season.
“The three days are certainly going to be something special for us. I’m looking forward to the fun aspect of the trails and the relaxed atmosphere at the hotel after each day’s riding.”
Hill said the terrain set the race apart from other events with the daily finish at the top of Zuurberg Pass.
“It is a tester for the racing guys and provides a great sense of achievement for the rest of the field.
“I also enjoy the views on the queen stage (day two) where you can see the Karoo on the one side and the coast on the other.”
The Port Elizabeth-based Merrell team of SanMari Woithe and Andrea Shirley will target a hat-trick of victories in the women’s category.
“I’m looking forward to teaming up with SanMari, with whom I’ve raced a lot,” said Shirley
“We love racing in our ‘back yard’ and our objective is to win while having as much fun as possible.”
She said they knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which helped in a stage race with such varied course conditions.
We’re excited to launch the first episode of our online video series Contego Segment Hunter. The first segment in the series is Bloemslang – Just the Drop at Bloemendal Wine Estate. After consulting with the team and local riders, Gert Heyns was selected a worthy challenger to Louis Bresler-Knipe’s King of the Mountain. Watch the video below to see if Gert takes the KOM.
Gert never rests. Even while celebrating with a wheelie, he’s on the lookout for more KOMs to claim.
Our victorious Contego Segment Hunter heroes ride off into the sunset.
The Bloemslang – Just the Drop leaderboard:
While Gert Heyns sits on the top spot, it is unlikely that previous KOM holder and local rider Louis Bresler-Knipe will allow it to stand without a fight.
Grand Prize: Contego Unit Trust worth R30,000
At the end of the series, Contego are giving away R30,000 worth of unit trusts. All you have to do is ride your bike!How to enter:
- Join the Contego Segment Hunter Strava club and record your segment rides on Strava.
- Get out and ride! After each segment is announced go and ride it. Please ride safely though, there is no prize for being the fastest.
For each Contego Segment Hunter segment you ride, you will be entered into the draw to win. So if you ride all six segments during the series, you will receive six entries.
Nominate your favourite segment to feature in future episodes of Contego Segment Hunter:
We’re looking for you to nominate your favourite Strava segments to be featured in our Contego Segment Hunter video series. If your segment is chosen you could win a Cadence Nutrition hamper valued at R2,620.
You can nominate your segments here.
We’re excited to reveal the first segment in our new online video series titled ‘Contego Segment Hunter’. As the name suggests the series is all about Strava Segments. We’ll be looking for the gnarliest, toughest or just plain coolest sections of road, dirt or trail to unleash our chosen challenger on.
For the first challenge we’ve selected Bloemslang – Just the Drop on the Bloemendal Wines trails. Our host, Ollie Munnik (aka. Pinner), met up with the current KOM holder, Louis-Bresler Knipe, to show what lies ahead for our first Contego Segment Hunter challenger.
Watch Ollie Munnik and Louis-Bresler Knipe take on Bloemslang – Just the Drop here:
We’ve found a challenger brave enough to take on Louis-Bresler Knipe’s KOM in our first Contego Segment Hunter episode which will be aired on 23 May 2016. In the meantime, get out there and ride Bloemslang – Just the Drop. Take on the challenge yourself.
How do I ride this segment?
Bloemslang – Just the Drop is on the Bloemendal trails which are part of the larger Tygerberg MTB Club trails. The Bloemslang trail is found on the upper section of Bloemendal trails. Members of the public must purchase a day permit (or be Tygerberg MTB club members) to ride these trails. Permits can be bought at the restaurant and club house on Lower Bloemendal which is on the Tygervalley Road (M13). Permits allow access to Bloemendal, Nitida, Hillcrest and the Bloemendaaler (Upper Bloemendal). Permits cost R50 for adults and R30 for children 18 years and under.
How does it all work?
In case you missed our introductory video in April you take take a look here.
Here is a run down of the process for each episode:
- The Segment: A suitable segment will be chosen for each episode based on your nominations.
- The Challenger: We’ll choose a suitable challenger for the segment: A pro, an amateur or person of interest.
- The Preview: Once we have #1 and #2 sorted the “Pinner” will take us through the segment in some detail to help you set some PBs and give a us preview of what’s to come.
- The Episode: The final showdown. Our challenger lays it all on the line to take on the segment and bask in the glory of virtual winnings.
Prizes and Segment Nominations
You, the viewers, are a vital part of Contego Segment Hunter series and we encourage all of you to get you all involved. From entering for prizes to selecting the segments our Challengers will face.
Grand Prize: Contego Unit Trust
At the end of the series, Contego are giving away R30,000 worth of unit trusts. All you have to do is ride your bike!
How to enter:
- For a each episode a new segment is announced. Ollie Munnik will take you through each segment in his preview videos.
- We then invite you to ride that segment and see how well you do. Maybe even offer our Challenger some advice and perhaps take the KOM or QOM yourself.
- For each Contego Segment Hunter segment you ride, you will be entered into the draw to win. So if you ride all six segments during the series, you will receive six entries. If you only have time to ride just one segment, you will receive one entry for the grand prize.
- IMPORTANT: You must record your rides on Strava and join the Contego Segment Hunter Strava club to be considered for the Grand Prize.
Nominate your segments and win with Cadence Nutrition
Later this week we will be making a call for you to nominate segments for the first season of Contego Segment Hunter. We’re looking for a wide range of segments, including climbs, descents, or combinations of both be it on or off the road.
Each nomination that is selected to feature in an episode of Contego Segment Hunter will win a Cadence Nutrition hamper valued at R2,600.
A big thanks goes to Zeekus who nominated Bloemslang – Just the Drop and walks away with the first Cadence Nutrition hamper.