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Woolcock, Roux take opening stage in Winelands

Woolcock, Roux take opening stage in Winelands

Waylon Woolcock used his considerable experience to join Hennie Roux as first-stage winners when the Liberty Winelands Encounter got under way in the Western Cape today.

The opening day of the three-stage mountain-bike race saw competitors cover 48km from the Boschendal Wine Estate to Le Franschhoek Hotel, which included 1 060 metres of ascent.

Woolcock and Roux crossed the line in 1:54:22, just less than three minutes ahead of Cobus Swanepoel and Neville Cragg (1:57:19). Dawid de Bruin and Michael Dundulakis filled the third podium spot.

A former professional cyclist, Woolcock won the race in tandem with HB Kruger in 2017 and today's efforts put him in line for a repeat performance.

Only this time he will be guiding his 19-year-old partner through the intricacies of stage racing as Roux, who is also from Stellenbosch, experiences his first Winelands Encounter.

Woolcock has been mentoring his colleague for the past two years and said they felt good going into the race.

"We managed to ride away on the first climb and from there it was just a matter of controlling things and making sure we enjoyed the experience," he said.

"Hennie was pretty strong throughout the stage, so that is a sign that the work we have been doing is paying off.

"I was able to use my experience to pass on some advice to him about where to ride hard and where to be a little bit more cautious, so it was a good day for both of us."

Woolcock added that, as usual, the trails set up for the race had provided a clear indication of what the Cape Winelands had to offer avid mountain-bikers.

"Starting from Boschendal there were some pretty decent, steep climbs and nice single-track.

"From there we headed over to Franschhoek, which is a bit more open with gravel roads and jeep tracks.

"But it is still fairly rough and offers typical mountain-bike terrain, so that was really cool."

Woolcock said he was looking forward to the weekend to experience more of the ambience of the three-day event.

"Unfortunately I had some work commitments to handle after the stage, but everything is set up very nicely and we are looking forward to appreciating more of the hospitality on offer tomorrow and on Sunday."

In the women's race, Alta Kriegler and Sunette Beyers were first across the line, while Andrew Marsh and Anneke Viljoen lead the mixed category.

Cobus Barnard has a two-minute advantage over Simon Bothner in the men's solo section and Amy McDougall is a clear leader in the women's category.

Tomorrow's stage will start and finish at Le Franschhoek Hotel, covering 48km with a total elevation of 1 144 metres. The race finishes at the Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl on Sunday.

Provisional results

Stage one, 48km

Men

1 Waylon Woolcock & Hennie Roux (Henmar Hire) 1:54:22
2 Cobus Swanepoel & Neville Cragg (Hereford Racing) 1:57:19
3 Dawid de Bruin & Michael Dundulakis (Hereford Bulls) 2:06:03
4 Renato Albrecht & Martin Pieterse (Dropped the Baker) 2:06:06
5 Henning van Wyk & Jonathan Wilk (Team Pedalworx) 2:10:38

Women

1 Alta Kriegler & Sunette Beyers (Pool Nurse) 2:35:59

Mixed

1 Andrew Marsh & Anneke Viljoen (Overberg MTB Events) 2:21:30
2 Lourie Nel & Cecile Coetzee (Fast and Ferious) 2:37:28
3 Andre le Grange & Rode Jordaan (Boer & Brit) 2:41:29
4 Aldre Geldenhuys & Sunet Geldenhuys (TeamG) 2:44:11
5 Louis Loubser & Desiree Loubser (Fair Cape) 2:44:14

Solo men

1 Corne Barnard 2:07:53
2 Simon Bothner 2:09:50
3 De Villiers Odendaal 2:14:55
4 Andries van den Berg 2:15:43
5 Brian Ehret 2:26:05

Solo women

1 Amy McDougall 1:57:00
2 Louise Ferreira 2:15:11
3 Michelle Lombardi 2:22:35
4 Wilna Marais 2:59:51

General classification

Men

1 Waylon Woolcock & Hennie Roux (Henmar Hire) 1:54:22
2 Cobus Swanepoel & Neville Cragg (Hereford Racing) 1:57:19
3 Dawid de Bruin & Michael Dundulakis (Hereford Bulls) 2:06:03
4 Renato Albrecht & Martin Pieterse (Dropped the Baker) 2:06:06
5 Henning van Wyk & Jonathan Wilk (Team Pedalworx) 2:10:38

Women

1 Alta Kriegler & Sunette Beyers (Pool Nurse) 2:35:59

Mixed

1 Andrew Marsh & Anneke Viljoen (Overberg MTB Events) 2:21:30
2 Lourie Nel & Cecile Coetzee (Fast and Ferious) 2:37:28
3 Andre le Grange & Rode Jordaan (Boer & Brit) 2:41:29
4 Aldre Geldenhuys & Sunet Geldenhuys (TeamG) 2:44:11
5 Louis Loubser & Desiree Loubser (Fair Cape) 2:44:14

Solo men

1 Corne Barnard 2:07:53
2 Simon Bothner 2:09:50
3 De Villiers Odendaal 2:14:55
4 Andries van den Berg 2:15:43
5 Brian Ehret 2:26:05

Solo women

1 Amy McDougall 1:57:00
2 Louise Ferreira 2:15:11
3 Michelle Lombardi 2:22:35
4 Wilna Marais 2:59:51

Caption: Hennie Roux (front) and Waylon Woolcock won the opening stage of the Liberty Winelands Encounter from the Boschendal Wine Estate to Franschhoek today. The three-stage mountain-bike race ends at the Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl on Sunday. Photo: Henk Neuhoff