The FNB Wines2Whales has for a number of years held the title as the three day stage race with the biggest prize money purse in mountain biking. In 2019, that is once again true as the event increases its prize purse, offering equal prize money across genders and deepening the number of teams who can contest for the races’ financial rewards. The events will also boast prize money for age group categories and a reinvigorated Whale category in this year’s editions.
Elite riders competing in the Open categories of the Chardonnay and Shiraz events will be racing for their share of R252 500 in each event with prize money being awarded all the way down to 10th position.
A major change has been implemented and unlike in previous years, elite riders in the Chardonnay and Shiraz races can only compete in the Open class, regardless of their age. That frees up the Sub-Veteran (30-39), Veteran (40-49) and Masters (50+) categories for the competitive weekend warriors in the field. In addition to age group winners being rewarded with a R3 000 cash prize, the leading team in each category, after each stage, will earn the right to wear dedicated Ciovita leader jerseys for the following stage.
In the Shiraz race, the prize purse for the event will be slightly higher than at the Chardonnay race, due to the additions of the Mixed and Exxaro categories, each competing for a R3 000 cheque.
For the second year running, the Exxaro race will offer riders from historically disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to race for FNB Wines2Whales glory. In addition to the glory of wearing the Exxaro leaders’ jersey, the winning team will walk away with a cash prize and they will receive a bursary for two learners from Curro for schooling from Grade 1 through Grade 12. Each winner can nominate a family member to take advantage of this life-changing opportunity.
A whale’s tale:
Unlike the more serious categories at FNB Wines2Whales there is one where the stakes are just as high, but only bragging rights and a fitting prize or three is on offer. The Whale category will once again allow the larger lads in the field to showcase their mountain biking skills. All teams, where both riders tip the scales at over 99 kilograms, are eligible to enter and the top performers will be rewarded in wine from the route’s most iconic farms. Last year’s whale category win was no fluke as the category was dominated by Matthijs Finke Jasperse and his Dutch Olympic Rowing partner Mitchel Steenman. They claimed the highly acclaimed honours in not just one, but all three FNB W2W events on their way to adding their names to the Jeroboam finisher list.
For more information about the categories, prize purse and for entries to one of the three 2019 FNB Wines2Whales events please visit www.wines2whales.com.