Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Tankwa Trek'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • General
    • The Bike Room
    • Sponsored
  • New to Cycling
    • Ask Anything
    • What Bike to Buy
  • Gear & Bikes
    • Technical Q&A
    • New Gear
    • Buyer’s Advice
    • Post Your Bike & Projects
    • Bike Shops & Services
    • Retro / Vintage Bikes
  • Events & Training
    • Events
    • Pro Cycling
    • Training, Health & Nutrition
  • Riding
    • Group Rides
    • Routes & Trails
    • Share Your Ride & Travels
  • Discipline-Specific
    • Gravity
    • Fixie & Singlespeed
    • Commuter
    • Multisport
  • Safety & Awareness
    • Stolen Bikes
    • Cycling Safety
    • Fraud Alert
    • Lost & Found
    • Good Causes
  • Help Desk
    • Site Announcements
    • Help & Support
  • Off Topic
    • Chit chat

Categories

  • Adventure and Travel
  • Tips and Advice
  • Event and Industry News
  • Tech
  • Promotions
    • Custom Content Partnership

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website URL


Location


Full Name

  1. The Queen Stage of the 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, was won by the all-South African teams of Faces Rola and Toyota Specialized on Saturday, 5 February. Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje recovered from a difficult second stage to outsprint the overall race leaders, Team Cornercard, on Stage 3. While in the women’s race Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill recovered from 5-minutes behind in the first 15-kilometres to win their third successive stage. View full article
  2. The Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is undoubtedly among the world’s premier stage races. Boasting four challenging days of racing, through the Koue Bokkeveld region of the Western Cape, it features a late afternoon Prologue and three marathon stages. For 2022 the route has been dramatically refreshed. It is fitting then that the race will be contested by a stellar field of mountain biking all-stars. View full article
  3. Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje raced to their first stage win of the 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, on the Queen Stage. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. On Stage 3 the Merino Monster, South Africa’s most infamous mountain biking climb, loomed large. As did the R10 000 prize money for the first men’s and women’s team to reach the summit. The highest point of the race, at 1 750 metres above sea level was located 75-kilometres into a 99-kilometre-long stage however. Which meant that the trails to the climb saw fierce battles unfold. The first victims were the Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant team of Wessel Botha and Marco Joubert. A rear wheel puncture for Botha meant the team who had started the day in second position were chasing from the 25-kilometre mark. Despite receiving a wheel from Pieter du Toit, of Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant B, Joubert and Botha still had a significant chase on their hands. Wessel Botha suffered a rear wheel puncture and needed to take a wheel from Pieter du Toit of Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant B. This left Du Toit (pictured holding the wheel, with Franco van Zyl) to repair the puncture. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. With Matt Beers on the front of the lead group there was no chance of the chasers regaining contact. When Nino Schurter came to the front, after 40-kilometres, only Toyota Specialized could follow the Cornercard team. On the Old Wagon Trail climb, from the Ceres Valley to the Koue Bokkeveld plateau, Schurter, Filippo Colombo, Beers and Tristan Nortje continued to build on their advantage. Behind Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen were leading the chase. The pair had been joined by Botha and Joubert. At the start of the race’s main climb the Cannondale Factory Racing and Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant were 3 minutes behind the leaders. They were followed by MES Electrical Suppliers, 2 minutes further back. Despite Nino Schurter’s strength his partner, Filippo Colombo was not able to match Toyota Specialized on the steepest slopes of the Merino Monster climb. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. On the steepest slopes of the Merino Monster Colombo started to struggle. Beers and Nortje seized the opportunity and gradually edged away from the race leaders. “We were feeling good and climbing well” Nortje confirmed. “We saw Colombo was suffering a bit more than us. But unfortunately, about 10 minutes from the summit, I shifted and my rear derailleur didn’t engage. The battery was flat and I was stuck in the fourth cog from the top of the cassette.” As a result, Schurter and Colombo raced through the Anderson Transport King of the Mountain hotspot in first place. “We caught them again on the descent and then rode with the Cornercard team back to the finish” Nortje explained. “It was great to take the victory too. After the first two day’s and all the difficulties I had… winning today was very special.” A technical issue for Tristan Nortje allowed Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo to race to the Anderson Transport King of the Mountain prize. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Tristan Nortje had to switch the battery from his dropper seatpost with the one on his rear derailleur at the summit of the Merino Monster. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Toyota Specialized’s victory was by just 2 seconds. Cornercard finished just behind and Cannondale Factory Racing completed the podium. Hatherly and Andreassen had lost their third position on the climb, but their descending skills allowed them to regain contact with Konny Looser and Alexander Miller on the run into Kaleo. Alexander Miller and Konny Looser summited in third position but were beaten to the finish line by Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Having caught the Swiss/Namibian pairing Cannondale Factory Racing then dropped MES Electrical Supplies in the final few kilometres to earn their first podium place of the race. Further back in the men’s field the victorious Veterans team placed tenth overall. Karl Platt and Udo Bolts, of Team Bulls, have been dominant in their age category; despite 55-year-old Bolts being eligible for the older, Masters’ competition. The pair started the day 8 minutes behind the AA batch of elite men, yet managed to beat a number of them back to Kaleo Guest Farm. In the women’s race Lill suffered a puncture on the Old Gydo Pass descent. The valve of the Faces Rola rider’s rear wheel was leaking air. It took her and Strauss the best part of 5 minutes to get going again. Candice Lill struggled to repair a rear wheel puncture, within the first 15-kilometrs of the day. The Faces Rola rider’s valve was leaking air and only changing a wheel, at Water Point 1, could remedy the issue. Photo by Justin Reinecke / www.zcmc.co.za. Faces Rola spent the next 30-kilometres chasing Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph. Once the women in the pink Anderson Transport leaders’ First Ascent jerseys regained first position on the road there was no stopping them. They climbed to the Anderson Transport Queen of the Mountain prize and then descended to a third stage victory. Strauss and Lill’s victory margin was a significant 16 minutes and 39 seconds. Efficient Insure Infinity Racing’s Kim le Court and Samantha Sanders completed the podium. The result hands Faces Rola a 46-minute general classification lead over Hill and Ralf, heading into the final stage. In the men’s race Cornercard’s advantage is 4 minutes and 53 seconds over Toyota Specialized. Despite finishing fifth on the day Botha and Joubert did enough to maintain their third position overall, they start the final stage 12 minutes behind Schurter and Colombo. More importantly perhaps they are 4 minutes ahead of Hatherly and Andreassen. Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill overcame an early puncture to ascend to the Anderson Transport Queen of the Mountain prize and a third stage victory. Photo by Sage Lee Voges / www.zcmc.co.za. Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen Results Stage 3 | Men: 1. Toyota Specialized: Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje (3:59:05) 2. Cornercard: Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo (3:59:07| +02) 3. Cannondale Factory Racing: Simon Andreassen and Alan Hatherly (4:07:02 | +6:57) Stage 3 | Women: 1. Faces Rola: Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill (5:04:34) 2. Liv Cycling South Africa: Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph (5:21:13 | +16:39) 3. Efficient Insure Infinity Racing: Kim le Court and Samantha Sanders (5:34:45 | +30:12) General Classification after Stage 3 | Men: 1. Cornercard: Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo (8:29:46) 2. Toyota Specialized: Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje (8:34:39 | +4:53) 3. Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant (8:41:47 | +12:01) General Classification after Stage 3 | Women: 1. Faces Rola: Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill (10:37:16) 2. Liv Cycling South Africa: Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph (11:23:59 | +46:43) 3. Efficient Insure Infinity Racing: Kim le Court and Samantha Sanders (11:41:43 | +1:04:27) Please visit www.tankwatrek.co.za to view the full results from Stage 2. Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, men’s Stage 3 podium (from left to right): Nino Schurter & Filippo Colombo (2nd), Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje (1st), and Simon Andreassen and Alan Hatherly (3rd). Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, women’s Stage 3 podium (from left to right): Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill (2nd), Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill (1st) and Kim le Court (3rd). Samantha Sanders was absent from the photo. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co.
  4. Nino Schurter used all his singletrack nous and skills to race to victory, alongside Filippo Colombo, on the opening day of the 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. The punchy route, which featured a mix of rocky singletracks, rugged dual tracks and a couple of gravel road drags ensured a frenetic first stage. Jaco Venter and Sascha Webber set the early tempo, as they led through the first 10-kilometres. Sadly, Venter’s race ended prematurely, in the day’s first singletrack. The Trek-Vaude man’s front wheel was pulled from underneath him by a small antelope, possibly a steenbok (Raphicerus campestris), which ran across his path. Venter was brought down at high speed, cartwheeling dramatically over the bars. He was unable to complete the stage as a result. Somehow the other riders, who were following close behind, were unaffected by the crash and the racing continued. Overcast conditions made for a pleasant start to the race, which kicked-off with a 29-kilometre stage on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Simon Andreassen was the next aggressor; but soon Schurter and Colombo came to the fore. The Swiss pair’s charge through the stage was briefly interrupted by a slow puncture to Schurter’s front wheel. After stopping to reinflate the tyre the Corner Card team had to chase back, but managed to regain contact with the lead group inside the final 10-kilometres. This set up an exciting finish with Toyota Specialized, MES Electrical Suppliers and Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant 1 all also in contention for stage honours. Schurter lead Colombo into the final singletrack and the pair then benefited from a tangle behind them. Sprinting for the entrance to the fields, upon which the finish line is located, Matt Beers and Konny Looser came together. Looser was forced to stop completely as he ran out of space with Beers losing traction and control in a sandy patch. Despite the MES Electrical Supplies team’s other rider – Alexander Miller – crossing the line just behind Schurter and Colombo, Looser’s halt within the final 200-metres relegated them to third. The elite men’s field for the 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is stacked with mountain biking talent. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. “It was a fast stage with very tight racing” Schurter commented. “We didn’t really know where the singletracks were so we had to stay near the front all the time. I had a small leak in my front tyre, but fortunately that didn’t cost us too much.” “Tomorrow is going to be another exciting stage” he added. “There are only a handful of seconds between the top five teams” Beers pointed out. “The next few days are going to be fiercely contested. And it’s all to play for.” Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo sprinted to line honours on Stage 1. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. In the women’s race Strauss and Lill made an early break. “We got away on the first little climb and rather than waiting to be caught decided to push on” Lill stated. “With the rocky nature of the trails here it’s safer to get out in front and ride your own pace. There were a few times where we came upon really technical sections quite unexpectedly and I thought how dangerous they could be in a big group, like the men were racing in. With the tail wind you pick up a lot of speed without really realising it.” Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill dominated Stage 1 and got their title defence off to the best possible start. Photo by Sage Lee Voges / www.zcmc.co.za. Lill and Strauss’ margin of victory was a commanding 5-minutes and 42-seconds. Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph won the sprint for second over the Efficient Insure Infiniti Racing. The tight gaps between the top men as well as the negligible difference between the second- and third-women’s teams bodes well for an exciting weekend of racing. Friday’s Stage 2 is often underestimated for its difficulty. The 86-kilometre route, through the Witzenberg Valley takes in 1 900-metres of climbing and is run in reverse, to its usual anti-clockwise direction, in 2022. The racing will get underway at 06:30. Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen Results Stage 1 | Men: 1. Corner Card: Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo (1:03:25) 2. Toyota Specialized: Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje (1:03:31| +06) 3. MES Electrical Supplies: Alexander Miller and Konny Looser (1:03:37 | +12) Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo were joined on the day one podium by Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje (Toyota Specialized) and the MES Electrical Supplies team of Alexander Miller and Konny Looser. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Stage 1 | Women: 1. Faces Rola: Mariske Stauss and Candice Lill (1:17:11) 2. Liv Cycling South Africa: Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph (1:22:53 | +5:42) 3. Efficient Insure Infinity Racing: Kim le Court and Samantha Sanders (1:22:59 | +5:48) The Stage 1 women’s podium featured (from left to right) Theresa Ralph, Sarah Hill, Mariske Strauss, Candice Lill, Kim le Court and Samantha Sanders (absent). Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. Please visit www.tankwatrek.co.za to view the full results from Stage 1.
  5. The 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, got underway at Kaleo Manor in the Koue Bokkeveld on Thursday, 3 February. A short, 29-kilometre opening stage, demanded full gas racing as the teams sprinted for each singletrack. Nine-time UCI XCO World Champion, Nino Schurter utilised all of his racing nous and formidable power to ensure that he and, Corner Card teammate, Filippo Colombo won the opening stage. In the women’s race, Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill got their title defence off to a winning start. View full article
  6. The most eye-catching names in the 2022 line-up are, nine-time XCO World Champion, Nino Schurter and the multi-talented, six-time elite World Champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. While Schurter will be teaming up with fellow Swiss Olympian Filippo Colombo, to race for the elite men’s title, Ferrand-Prévot will be taking part in the mixed category, as she builds towards the UCI MTB World Cup season; which kicks off in Brazil on the 8th of April. Both will face stern competition in the heat of the Bokkeveld however. Nino Schurter, the nine time and reigning XCO World Champion, will make his Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, debut alongside Filippo Colombo in the 2022 race. Photo by Michael Cerveney. “In the past, I’ve always seen the other teams racing the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen,” Schurter pointed out. “I’ve seen lots of great photos and I watched as the Cannondale guys raced it. My South African friends have also told me a lot about the race; so, while it’s my first time taking part, I know a bit about it and am really looking forward to it.” “By the time the race gets underway I’ll have been in South Africa for a month already,” the World Champion said about his heat adaptation. “I’ve been training in the heat and I’m already quite used to the soaring temperatures, which certainly helps. But I’m still hoping that it won’t be too hot during the race.” Explaining how his participation came about Schurter stated: “Filippo Colombo actually asked me if I’d like to race with him. I realised then that it fits quite well into my training programme and that it’s perfectly positioned a few weeks out from the Cape Epic. I’m also looking forward to racing with Filippo. He’s a cool guy and we had a lot of fun together in Tokyo. Racing together is going to be a lot of fun and will help in the build-up to the Cape Epic.” Schurter and Colombo’s main rivals are likely to be the Cannondale Factory Racing team of Simon Andreassen and Alan Hatherly, as well as the Specialized team of Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje. All four riders contested the Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, on the 15th of January. There Andreassen rode to a commanding victory in sweltering conditions, so the Dane is also likely to thrive in the Bokkeveld. Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje will race for the first time as a team at the four-day stage race, after both having contested the Hell of the South in January. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Shift Media Co. The race will be Beers and Nortje’s first outing as a team. The South African Marathon Champion is looking forward to getting the team’s stage racing campaign underway. “Tristan is a massive talent and I’m excited to race alongside him” Beers enthused. “He’s an exceptional climber and he’s really dedicated. So, I’ll be imparting what knowledge I have on him, but he’s a fast learner so I’m sure he’ll be putting me on the ropes pretty quickly.” “We are focused on winning and are both hungry for success in 2022” Beers added. “So, I think we are going to make a great combination at the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, and beyond. I’m expecting a really tough race though. The standard of competition is really high and the 30 kay Prologue is going to really suit the Cannondale boys, Nino and Filippo. They’ll try to make it really hard on the marathon teams and I think, given the nasty summer we’re having, that the heat is going to be a factor too. We’ll have to be on top of nutrition and hydration! But also take care of our equipment, it’s very rocky out there and the bikes take a beating when it gets extremely hot and dusty.” In addition to the Swiss, Cannondale Factory Racing and Specialized teams the men’s race will be contested by two Imbuko {type}DEV equipped by Giant teams, three Insect Science squads, Team Trek Vaude, Valley Electrical Titan Racing and the MES Electrical Supplies team of Konny Looser and Alexander Miller. The mixed category will see Ferrand-Prévot partnered by Kilian Bron in a race against Ben Melt and Yolandi Swanepoel, as well as Yolande de Villiers and Charles McFall. 2020 champions, Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss, return to the Koue Bokkeveld to defend their title in February 2022. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. The elite women’s race sees 2020 champions Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss return to defend their title after the 2021 Covid enforced cancellation. “I love coming back to the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen,” Lill smiled. “It’s a proper mountain biker’s mountain bike race! The terrain is very rocky and challenging. You have to be tough to win the race or even complete it. I love how difficult the terrain is, but also how balanced the stages are; which each presents a different challenge.” “I’m racing with Mariske [Strauss] again and I guess we’re the defending champion” she elaborated. “We’ll be staying in the race village this year and I’m looking forward to the race’s hospitality. I love staying at Kaleo and the food is always amazing. Being able to socialise a bit with the rest of the mountain biking community is another bonus of staying on site and I’m looking forward to that too.” Lill and Strauss will be up against Efficient Insure Infiniti Racing’s Samantha Sanders and Kimberley le Court, as well as Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph, racing as Liv Cycling South Africa. There will be live tracking, for all elite riders, allowing mountain biking fans to dot watch as the racing unfolds. More details and the racing action will be captured on the event’s social media handles. The route for the 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, has been significantly updated. Elite and amateur riders alike can expect spectacular, technical, mountain biking. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za.
  7. The world's best racers, including Cannondale Factory Racing's Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic, are regular competitors at the annual Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo: ZC Marketing. Under current South African Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and facing an uncertain near future of the dynamic situation, Dryland Event Management, the company that organises the Tankwa Trek, came to the decision on Monday 4 January 2021 after extensive consultation with local officials and the event’s primary sponsors, Momentum Medical Scheme and Biogen. After more than three months at a less restrictive Level 1, South Africa has been placed back into a Level 3 Lockdown in its quest to gain control over the Covid-19 pandemic that’s put the country’s health support systems under severe strain. This is currently in place until 15 January 2021, but there is no guarantee that it won’t be extended as official case numbers and hospitalisation numbers continue to rise. By 4 January, there had been a recorded total of 1.1 million cases with 30 011 deaths, according to official statistics. The Koue Bokkeveld delivers harsh conditions for the annual Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo: ZC Marketing Under Level 3 restrictions, no organised gatherings, including sports events, may take place. The 2021 Tankwa Trek had reached its entry limit and Dryland had put in place all appropriate Covid-19 protocols for the event, based on Cycling South Africa’s guidelines. “We have been in contact with the local authorities in the Witzenberg and Breede Valley regions. Unfortunately, the local hospitals are under severe strain. Even if the lockdown level is dialled back down to 1 in time for the first week of February, it would mean us having to send any seriously injured riders from the event to hospitals in the Cape Town area,” said Henco Rademeyer, Managing Director of Dryland Event Management. The area is also key fruit producing region of South Africa. The harvesting of the fruit will reach its peak over the next three months and any kind of spike in Covid-19 cases could place not only this industry, but the lives and livelihoods of many local residents at risk. “Having a few hundred mountain bikers arrive for Tankwa Trek in a month’s time could well lead to the inadvertent transmission of the virus to the region. It really would be irresponsible of us to try and push ahead with the event on the planned 2021 dates,” added Rademeyer. The annual Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen is contained at a compact race village at the Kaleo Guest Farm. Photo: ZC Marketing “While most of us are returning from a bit of a holiday break, we’ve been reminded of how important it is to spend our time making memories. Taking part in an event, while doing what you love, along with like-minded people, is an essential part of staying healthy, both mentally and physically. “We share the frustration of not knowing what the future will bring, but we also know the importance and power of positivity. “The financial impact is real, for us as organisers as well as everyone entering and taking part in our events. We want to help this industry to stay alive and encourage people to trust us with their entries while keeping the financial risks as low as possible for everyone. Entrants of the 2021 Tankwa Trek will have five options, which will be communicated to them directly by Wednesday 6 January 2021,” added Rademeyer. “While sports events are important and offer a valuable objective for many South Africans who are committed to the pursuit of health and fitness, the Covid-19 pandemic has reached a critical point and we undoubtedly must recognise and support that. We agree with and support Dryland Event Management and Biogen that the best and most responsible option for all is to cancel the 2021 Tankwa Trek,” said Carel Bosman, Momentum Medical Scheme's Lead Sponsorships and Events. The terrain and gradient are spectacular at the annual Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo: ZC Marketing “The health and safety of all South Africans is the primary focus during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the high numbers of Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths at present, it is the right and only decision to cancel the 2021 Tankwa Trek. We feel for the riders, but believe they will understand the position and take advantage of the generous options they will be offered by Dryland Event Management,” said Brandon Fairweather, General Manager Biogen. The 2022 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, will take place from 3-6 February. More information about the event can be found at https://tankwatrek.co.za
  8. We are all obviously living in unfamiliar times with the advent of Covid 19. Event organisers are trying their utmost to figure out the best possible solution to the current situation we find ourselves in. It's also impossible to keep everyone happy. Please post any comments or suggestions if you have any.
  9. Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill made use of their cross-country skills to distance their rivals for the stage and general classification honours. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill started the day 37 seconds behind the overnight leaders, Jennie Stenerhag and Nadine Rieder. The Faces CST team thus had to go on the offensive early on. After pushing the pace in the first singletrack they made the race winning break in the famous Houdenbek trails. “We pushed hard to get into the Houdenbek singletracks first” Lill explained. “Then we could control the pace and rely upon our cross-country punch and skills to get a gap on the rest of the women’s field. At the second water point Darren [Lill] told us we had a 50 second lead. The next time we saw him it was two minutes. But we just kept pushing, because I remembered puncturing in the last 10 kilometres of the stage, here, in 2018.” The UCI women’s field ensured the 2020 Momentum Medical Scheme Tanwka Trek presented by Biogen was fiercely contested until the final stage. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Faces CST’s stage win – in a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes and 32 seconds – was enough to secure them the overall victory by 2 minutes and 14 seconds. “Taking the win is really important” Lill continued. “It secures us both a good few UCI points which will help towards our Olympic qualification bid. Part of the plan behind Mariske [strauss] and myself teaming up was to work towards securing two Olympic slots for South Africa.” Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss, of Faces CST, celebrate with the women’s trophy. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Jennie Stenerhag and Nadine Rieder had to be content with second position on the stage and on the final general classification standings. They would reflect on untimely punctures, which ultimately cost them dearly on Stages 1 and 3. “Mariske and Candice were the strongest riders today” Stenerhag graciously allowed. “They are deserved winners.” Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath finished third on the stage and rounded out the final overall podium. “Once we saw that we could not catch Faces CST or Fairtree, today, we slacked off” De Groot recounted. “The season is long and while we learnt a lot from the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen we recognised that our energy could be better spent later in the year.” The final UCI women’s General Classification podium. From left to right: Nadine Rieder and Jennie Stenerhag (second), Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss (first) and Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath (third). Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. In the UCI men’s race, as on Stage 3, there were two battles unfolding simultaneously. The first was for the stage honours. Which were claimed, in dominant fashion by Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini. The German/Brazilian combination blitzed the course in a time of 3 hours and 26 seconds. Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic won the final stage to end their race on a high, for Cannondale Factory Racing. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. The second was for the overall title. That battle once again featured a strong supporting cast performance from the Bulls Youngsters. Martin Frey and Simon Schneller were able to hold Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn’s wheels when the Bulls Heroes attacked. Working together the quartet were never at risk of being caught once they had distanced the CST PostNL Bafang team, of Sebastian Fini and David Nordemann. “Two minutes is not a big advantage” Huber conceded. “So, we decided to race the final stage as if it was any other. It is better to attack than to defend. We were able to get away from CST PostNL Bafang on a climb in the Houdenbek singletracks. The Youngsters were able to come with us and really helped in the sections between the singletracks.” Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn crossed the final finish line of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen alongside the Bulls Youngsters to claim the 2020 title. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “It was great crossing the line with them too” Huber added, reflecting on finishing alongside Stiebjahn, Schneller and Frey. “For the whole team it was a fantastic moment. It is great to start the season with a win and it will give us lots of confidence for the races to come.” Finishing third on the stage – but ahead of Fini and Nordemann, who finished fifth – was enough to extend the Bulls Heroes’ margin of victory to 3 minutes and 32 seconds. CST PostNL Bafang retained their second place overall. While Tristan de Lange, who survived a horror crash on the final stage, completed the overall podium alongside Alexander Miller, for DANSTE/Megatech. The final UCI men’s General Classification podium. From left to right: Sebastian Fini and David Nordemann (second), Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn (first) and Tristan de Lange and Alexander Miller (third). Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Results | Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen Stage 4 | Men: 1. Cannondale Factory Racing 1: Manuel Fumic & Henrique Avancini (03:00:26) 2. Team Bulls Youngsters: Martin Frey & Simon Schneller (3:02:38 | +02:12) 3. Team Bulls Heroes: Urs Huber & Simon Stiebjahn (3:02:39 | +02:13)Stage 4 | Women: 1. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (3:25:32) 2. Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (3:28:15 | +02:43) 3. dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (3:34:21 | +08:49) General Classification after Stage 4 | Men 1. Team Bulls Heroes: Urs Huber & Simon Stiebjahn (11:03:13) 2. CST PostNL Bafang: Sebastian Fini & David Nordemann (11:06:45 | +03:32) 3. DANSTE/Megatech: Tristan de Lange & Alexander Miller (11:08:39 | +05:26) 4. PYGA EuroSteel: Philip Buys & Matthys Beukes (11:17:05 | +13:52) 5. Devonbosch Stellenbosch: Frans Claes & Soren Nissen (11:20:22 | +17:09) General Classification after Stage 4 | Women: 1. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (12:47:44) 2. Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (12:49:50 | +02:14) 3. dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (12:56:29 | +08:45) 4. Devonbosch Vertice GTR: Ariane Lüthi & Lia Schrievers (13:20:09 | +33:25) 5. GB Cycling Team: Annie Last & Isla Short (13:26:14 | +39:30) For the full results from 2020 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen visit tankwatrek.co.za.
  10. Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic won the Queen Stage of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen on Saturday. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini’s stage win will have no impact on the overall classification but the battle behind them for second could well have determined on whose shoulders the final First Ascent yellow jerseys will rest. The Bulls Heroes outfit, of Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn emerged victorious from a titanic battle with Sebastian Fini and David Nordemann. CST PostNL Bafang lost two minutes and two seconds with a puncture in the final 5 kilometres of the day. The stage began with a sprint to the DUTOIT Drop singletrack, a twisting 4-kilometre descent from the Koue Bokkeveld to the Ceres Valley. DSV Pro Cycling’s Gert Heyns led the elite men through the trail, but once in the valley below the leading men regrouped into a peloton of general classification contenders. Head winds across the valley ensured the next 20-odd-kilometres were ridden as a group. Only the lower slopes of the Theronsberg Pass could begin to split the field. In a tactical master-stroke the Bulls Heroes were aided by the Bulls Youngsters. Martin Frey set a pace on the Theronsberg which kept Fini and Nordemann on the back foot. Then on the Merino Monster, Simon Schneller took over the pace-making duties from his teammate. Schneller’s excellent work whittled the lead group down to just his Bulls Heroes stablemates, Cannondale Factory Racing and PYGA EuroSteel. CST PostNL Bafang were stranded 30 seconds back and had to fight all the way to the summit to keep the yellow jerseys in sight. The general classification battle between the Bulls Heroes and CST PostNL Bafang continued on Stage 3. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “Simon and Martin were fantastic today” Huber praised. “It was a big help having them with us for the climbs and then on the descent having Simon just behind us gave us security, knowing assistance was so close. We know from the past that the descent from the Merino Monster is very technical and you can puncture very easily. So, we rode it safely.” Huber, Stiebjahn, Fini and Nordemann entered the final few kilometres neck-and-neck. “With about 5 kilometres to go I had a rear wheel puncture” Fini explained. “It is unfortunate but that’s racing. Tomorrow we try again. The gap isn’t that big.” Fumic and Avancini crossed the finish line, at Kaleo Manor first. They were followed across the line by Huber and Stiebjahn. Fini and Nordemann were third on the day. The stage result means that the Bulls Heroes take a two minute and two second lead into the final stage. CST PostNL Bafang have it all to do, on a stage not suited to making up large time deficits. Tristan de Lange and Alexander Miller, of DANSTE/Megatech maintain their third position overall, despite looking in difficulty for the first time in the race. A puncture for Sebastian Fini (second from left), in the final 5 kilometres, meant that he and David Nordemann (far left) lost 2 minutes and 2 seconds to the Bulls Heroes (centre). DANSTE/Megatech remain third overall. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. In the UCI Women’s race Fairtree’s Nadine Rieder was once again the main protagonist. She put Faces CST’s Mariske Strauss, in particular, under pressure on the Theronsberg Pass climb. That left dormakaba blue, GB Cycling and Fairtree at the front of the women’s race as they neared the foot of the Merino Monster. Isla Short and Annie Last, of GB Cycling, were the next to drop off the pace. Then Jennie Stenerhag, Rieder’s partner could no longer match the tempo set by dormakaba blue. “I just rode my temp and kept Robyn [de Groot] and Adel [Adelheid Morath] in sight” Stenerhag recounted. Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath, of dormakaba blue, won Stage 3 to move into second overall. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “On the descent that followed we caught up to dormakaba” Stenerhag added. “But then I saw Nadine [Rieder] looking at her tyres again and I knew she’d punctured. We stopped and plugged it. But it was still losing air so we had to stop again. That let Faces CST and GB Cycling pass us.” “We went over the Queen of the Mountain point in the lead” De Groot added, from a dormakaba point of view. “And then took it relatively easy on the descent. You can make up lots of time, but it’s early in the season and you can also have a race ending mechanical or a really bad crash. From the foot of the descent we time-trialled to the finish. The fact that the run-in to the finish is nearly all singletrack really helped. It keeps it interesting and helps you push.” De Groot and her dormakaba blue partner, Morath, became the third women’s team to win a stage of this year’s race. The result means that the women’s category echoes the men’s, where there have also been three different stage winners in three days. The Fairtee team, of Jennie Stenerhag and Nadine Rieder, clung onto the First Ascent leaders’ jerseys despite finishing fourth on the stage. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Behind the day’s victors, Faces CST recovered to finish second. GB Cycling’s Short and Last completed the stage podium. Stenerhag and Rieder crossed the line in fourth position, but hung onto their first place on the general classification standings. Their lead however was slashed to just 33 seconds. dormakaba blue moved up from third to second, while Strauss and Lill dropped down to third; but reduced their deficit to the race leaders, to just 37 seconds. The final stage is thus delicately poised, in the women’s race in particular. Mountain biking fans can watch the action unfold – on the race’s Twitter handle, @tankwatrek. Racing commences for the final time during the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen, at 06:30, on Sunday morning. Measuring 88 kilometres in length and featuring 1 250 metres of climbing, the final stage features the event’s most iconic trails; the routes through the wind weathered rocks of Houdenbek. Results | Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen Stage 3 | Men: 1. Cannondale Factory Racing 1: Manuel Fumic & Henrique Avancini (03:42:28) 2. Team Bulls Heroes: Urs Huber & Simon Stiebjahn (03:45:56 | +03:28) 3. CST PostNL Bafang: Sebastian Fini & David Nordemann (03:47:57 | +05:29)Stage 3 | Women: 1. dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (04:23:58) 2. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (04:24:28 | +30) 3. GB Cycling Team: Isla Short & Annie Last (04:25:48 | +01:50) General Classification after Stage 3 | Men: 1. Team Bulls Heroes: Urs Huber & Simon Stiebjahn (08:00:34) 2. CST PostNL Bafang: Sebastian Fini & David Nordemann (08:02:36 | +02:02) 3. DANSTE/Megatech: Tristan de Lange & Alexander Miller (08:04:32 | +03:58) 4. PYGA EuroSteel: Philip Buys & Matthys Beukes (08:08:09 | +07:35) 5. Devonbosch Stellenbosch: Frans Claes & Soren Nissen (08:14:57 | +14:23) General Classification after Stage 3 | Women: 1. Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (09:21:35) 2. dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (09:22:08 | +33) 3. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (09:22:12 | +37) 4. GB Cycling Team: Annie Last & Isla Short (09:31:43 | +10:08) 5. Devonbosch Vertice GTR: Ariane Lüthi & Lia Schrievers (09:43:23 | +21:48) For the full results from Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen visit tankwatrek.co.za.
  11. Simon Stiebjahn and Urs Huber, of Team Bulls Heroes, claimed stage victory and a dramatic general classification lead on Stage 2 of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Starting and finishing at Kaleo Manor, in the Koue Bokkeveld, the stage looped into the mountain biking playground that is the Witzenberg Valley. A playground at least for the strongest and most technically gifted riders. The hand-built singletracks, which were caved into the sandstone soils by Hannes and Sakkie Hanekom offer no quarter and any weakness is quickly amplified on this unforgiving terrain. Having lost nearly 30 minutes on the opening stage, with a broken chainring, Cannondale Factory Racing were eager to make amends on Stage 2. Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic set the pace from the gun and soon stretched the elite men’s field. As they were no risk to the overall title the CST PostNL Bafang team, of Sebastian Fini and David Nordemann were content to let Cannondale Factory Racing have free reign. Urs Huber powered through the 84-kilometre stage, taking advantage of mechanicals for Cannondale Factory Racing and cramps for PYGA EuroSteel to win the day. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. The race leaders were more concerned by the Bulls Heroes, Bulls Legends, PYGA EuroSteel, DANSTE Racing/Megatech and their closest rivals overnight Cannondale Factory Racing 2. Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn were looking particularly strong; riding themselves into contention after a difficult, but not disastrous opening stage. “Yesterday was hard” Huber confessed. “But today we felt better and better as the Stage went on. In the last hour in particular we were good.” Explaining how the stage unfolded he continued: “We could not go with Cannondale [Factory Racing] earlier, but then we saw they had a problem in the tech-zone [with 25 kilometres remaining]. A few kilometres later we passed PYGA [EuroSteel] when Philip Buys was standing by the side of the road [with cramps]. On the climb out of the Witzenberg Valley we could make a little difference and got a small lead on the CST PostNL Bafang team. Fortunately, Stiebie [simon Stiebjahn] and I were both feeling really good still and we could work together into the headwind to the finish.” Huber and Stiebjahn’s stage win was emphatic, but it soon emerged that the stage result was only half of the story. When Fini and Nordemann outsprinted Tristan de Lange and Alexander Miller for second, they stopped the clock 1 minute and 2 seconds down on the stage winners. That left the Bulls Heroes and CST PostNL Bafang tied on 4 hours, 14 minutes and 39 seconds. A count back revealed that only seventy-five thousandths of a second separated the new yellow jersey wearers from the old. In the women’s race, the change of lead was far more clearer cut. Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss were put under pressure in the Witzenberg Valley by Fairtree’s Nadine Rieder. The tall German ratcheted up the pace on the day’s most significant climb, a 10-kilometre-long ascent to the ridgeline which separates the Valley from Tulbagh to the west. Nadine Rieder and Jennie Stenerhag, of Fairtree, won Stage 2 of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen to move in the UCI women’s race lead. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I didn’t plan to attack, I just wanted to ride my own pace” Rieder confided. “I looked back and Jennie [stenerhag] was a few meters behind me; so, I just carried on at my pace knowing she would ride back to me. From there we worked together well to the finish, but we never knew how far behind the chasers were so we had no idea we could claim the lead today.” The Fairtree team were followed across the line by dormakaba blue’s Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath. They finished 3 minutes and 7 seconds behind the stage winners and moved up to third overall. Strauss and Lill, of Faces CST, finished third on the stage, dropping one general classification position to second. The Witzenberg Valley, the playground for Stage 2, is encircled by rugged mountains making it the perfect staging ground for a mountain bike race. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I’ve always struggled with this route” Strauss confessed after surrendering the pink UCI women’s First Ascent leaders’ jersey. “I don’t really know what it is, but at least the Merino Monster stage has been good to me in the past. So, we will fight again tomorrow.” “Anything can happen in the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen” Stenerhag stated. “The Merino Monster is a really tough climb. But you can’t really ride it tactically. Because it is so long, starting down in the Ceres Valley already, it proves who the strongest riders on the day are.” Mountain biking fans can tune in – to the race’s Twitter handle, @tankwatrek – from 06:30 on Saturday morning to see if Fairtree and the Bulls Heroes can emerge the strongest from the Queen Stage. The 89-kilometre route features an energy sapping 2 200 metres of climbing and tops out at 1 750 metres above sea level. Karl Platt is the current King of the Mountain record holder; on the 7.7-kilometre-long Merino Monster ascent, having managed to conquer it in 37 minutes and 47seconds in 2017. Sabine Spitz holds the women’s record; of 48 minutes and 37 seconds, set in 2018. David Nordemann, of CST PostNL Bafang, recovering from his exertions on Stage 2. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Results | Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen Stage 2 | Men: 1. Team Bulls Heroes: Urs Huber & Simon Stiebjahn (03:19:23) 2. CST PostNL Bafang: Sebastian Fini & David Nordemann (03:20:25 | +01:02) 3. DANSTE Racing/Megatech: Tristan de Lange & Alexander Miller (03:20:33 | +01:10)Stage 2 | Women: 1. Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (03:50:56) 2. dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (03:54:03 | +03:07) 3. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (03:55:06 | +04:10) General Classification after Stage 2 | Men 1. Team Bulls Heroes: Urs Huber & Simon Stiebjahn (04:14:39) 2. CST PostNL Bafang: Sebastian Fini & David Nordemann (04:14:39 | +00) 3. DANSTE Racing/Megatech: Tristan de Lange & Alexander Miller (04:15:29 | +50) 4. Team Bulls Legends: Karl Platt & Alban Lakata (04:17:33 | +02:54) 5. PYGA EuroSteel: Philip Buys & Matthys Beukes (04:19:25 | +04:46) General Classification after Stage 2 | Women: 1. Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (04:55:00) 2. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (04:57:44 | +02:44) 3. dormakaba blue: Robyn de Groot & Adelheid Morath (04:58:10 | +03:10) 4. GB Cycling Team: Annie Last & Isla Short (05:05:55 | +10:55 5. Devonbosch Vertice GTR: Ariane Lüthi & Lia Schrievers (05:10:21 | +15:21) For the full results from Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen visit tankwatrek.co.za.
  12. The CST PostNL Bafang team of Sebastian Fini and David Nordemann won the opening stage of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen on Thursday afternoon. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Mechanicals, punctures and crashes impacted both the UCI men’s and women’s races. The primary victims were the Cannondale Factory Racing team of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini. Fumic’s front wheel kicked a rock up which destroyed his chainring and his hopes of winning the stage. “I’ve never seen anything like it before” Avancini confessed. “The chainring nearly broke off the crank from a rock hitting it and there was no way to fix it on the trail. Manny [Fumic] had to run and I had to tow him to the finish. Now we reset and use the rest of the race as training. Hopefully we can help Maxime [Marotte] and Grant [Ferguson] over the next three days.” Sebastian Fini (leading) David Nordemann capitalised on a mechanical for Manuel Fumic to race to a superb stage victory. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Fumic and Avancini’s loss was Fini and Nordemann’s gain. The young cross-country racers had escaped off the front with Cannondale Factory Racing and were able to capitalise on Fumic’s mechanical. Once they were in the lead they pushed on towards the finish, even a crash by Nordemann 6 kilometres from the finish could not derail their charge to victory. Cannondale Factory Racing’s Henrique Avancini was unable to prove his form as misfortune intervened for him and his partner, Manuel Fumic. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I saw Fumic struggling with his chain and then we just pushed full gas” Fini related. “Sebastien was so strong, I just tried to hold his wheel” Nordemann. “The trails here are amazing, but are kind of sketchy in places too. You have to really be careful. I pushed a bit to hard and caught my handlebar on a bush and went over the bars 6 kilometres from the finish. Fortunately, I was able to get up, straighten my bars and we could still win the stage.” CST PostNL Bafang crossed the finish line, at Kaleo Manor, in a time of 54 minutes and 14 seconds. They were followed in by the Cannondale Factory Racing 2 pair of Marotte and Ferguson, 35 seconds later. The third team on the stage was the surprise package of Tristan de Lange and Alexander Miller. The young Namibians will start Stage 2 just 42 seconds behind the race leaders. In the UCI women’s race Strauss and Lill lead from start to finish. Initially the Fairtree team of Jennie Stenerhag and Nadine Rieder followed the Faces CST squad’s pace. On the stage’s most significant climb the leading teams had established a healthy buffer, but that would not last for Fairtree. 8 kilometres from the finish Rieder experienced her first puncture during a mountain bike race. Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss kicked off their partnership with a stage victory on Day 1 of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I had my first ever puncture while racing my mountain bike today” Rieder exclaimed. “I’ve been worried about it for years, but at least it’s out of the way now. After Jennie [stenerhag] plugged it I crashed twice, once because of the low pressure in the back wheel and then when I clipped a tree branch with my handlebar.” “I know from last year that anything can happen in the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen” Stenerhag philosophised. “Last year we were 4 minutes down after Stage 1 and still won overall. It is so easy to make a mistake here and lose lots of time. Hopefully we got that out of the way today.” For Strauss and Lill the stage was drama-free. The pair looked untroubled in their first start as a partnership and matched each-other strength-for-strength. “I kind of knew Mariske [strauss] and I would race well together” Lill said. “But to have it proven gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the race.” Taking confidence into the long stages ahead could be vital. “The race only really starts tomorrow” Strauss stated. “Having the leaders jerseys on our shoulders gives us a chance to race tactically and not take undue risks.” The chasing UCI women’s pack will have to take risks to put Faces CST under pressure. Ghost Factory Racing are perfectly placed to do so on Stage 2. Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra were second on the opening stage, having overtaken Fairtree after Reider’s first crash. They lie 1 minute and 18 seconds behind the race leaders. Stenerhag and Rieder are a further 8 seconds back, with dormakaba blue’s Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath just off the podium in fourth. With UCI points and significant prize money at stake the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen attracts a stellar international field. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Stage 2, which loops into the Witzenberg Valley, features 84 challenging kilometres of mountain biking. The singletrack-packed stage takes in 1 900 metres of climbing and though many riders fear the Merino Monster, on Stage 3, Stage 2 is arguably the toughest day of the race. Mountain biking fans can follow the action, as it unfolds on the race’s Twitter handle, from 06:30: @tankwatrek. Results | Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by BiogenStage 1 | Men: 1. CST PostNL Bafang: Sebastian Fini & David Nordemann (54:14) 2. Cannondale Factory Racing 2: Maxime Marotte & Grant Ferguson (54:49 | +00:35) 3. DANSTE Racing/Megatech: Tristan de Lange & Alexander Miller (54:56 | +00:42) Stage 1 | Women: 1. Faces CST: Mariske Strauss & Candice Lill (01:02:38) 2. Ghost Factory Racing: Barbara Benko & Anne Terpstra (01:03:56 | +01:18) 3. Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag & Nadine Rieder (01:04:04 | +01:26) For the full results from Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen visit tankwatrek.co.za.
  13. The Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen represents the first opportunity to see Candice Lill (pictured) racing with Mariske Strauss. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Having spent most of their careers racing against one another the two former winners of the UCI S1 stage race will team up this year, as Faces CST. They will be up against Ghost Factory Racing, Fairtree Rotwild, Devonbosch Vertice GTR, dormakaba blue and red, the GB Cycling Team and Galileo Risk Infinity. Thus, securing victory will be no easy feat. Strauss is the defending champion, having won the 2019 race alongside Jennie Stenerhag. While Lill was one of the 2018 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen winners. Both are chasing Olympic qualification and the 120 UCI points which are awarded to the winning riders could prove decisive in the final reckoning. Especially considering that South Africa’s chances of qualifying two riders for the games in Tokyo rely in no small part to outscoring Germany and Great Britain, the pressure is on. If Lill’s former partner Adelheid Morath or the former teammate they both share, Annie Last, were to finish ahead of them it would represent a major loss of potential Olympic qualifying points. Mariske Strauss is a two-time Momentum Heath Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen champion. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Then there is the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen prize money to consider. With R80 000 up for grabs for the winning team the pay-out is significant. It can be bolstered too by securing the R10 000 Queen of the Mountain prize for summiting the Merino Monster, on Stage 3, first. Plus, additionally supplemented by a further R25 000, for the first South African team on the final women’s general classification. The South Africans biggest challenge could well come from the Ghost Factory Racing outfit. Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra spent two days in the pink women’s leaders’ jerseys at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. They are formidably skilled over technical terrain, have the power to trouble all the women in the field and a year on they have more experience in harsh African conditions too. Terpstra enters the Olympic year off the back of her best ever year, the Dutch rider won her first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 2019 and finished the season as the top-ranked woman in the world. In 2019 Anne Terpstra and Barbara Benko, of Ghost Factory Racing, spent two days in the pink leaders’ jerseys. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Terpstra and Benko are by no means the only threat to Strauss and Lill. Stenerhag is, like the Faces CST women, a former winner in the Bokkeveld. In fact, she has won the title three times, in 2019, 2017 and 2015. For 2020 she teams up with Germany’s Nadine Rieder for Fairtree Rotwild and the Swedish/German combination will in all likelihood look to limit their losses on the first two days before going on the attack on the Merino Monster. Jennie Stenerhag is one of the race’s defending champions and she will line-up alongside Nadine Rieder in 2020. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. While that tactic may play into the hands of experienced riders like Stenerhag and Rieder, the GB Cycling Team will have to take another approach. The Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen is Isla Short’s first stage race on the African continent. The young Brit is partnered by an experienced campaigner, in Last, but they will still have to utilise their cross-country skills on the opening two stages and hope to hang on to any lead they can, potentially build up. dormakaba meanwhile have the luxury of two squads in the race. The dormakaba blue team is represented by the potential race winners, Morath and Robyn de Groot, another former champion. They along with Faces CST and Ghost Factory Racing are arguably the three co-favourites for the title. In the shape of dormakaba red and their stable-mates, Amy McDougall and Sabine Spitz, they have an additional card to play. McDougall and Spitz are not only on hand to supply a wheel if need be, but they could also provide a handy foil for Morath and De Groot to attack off, if the opportunity presents itself. Ariane Lüthi is another former Momentum Heath Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen winner. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Another former Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen winner, is the Swiss star Ariane Lüthi. Lüthi makes her home in South Africa during the summer months and is no stranger to the mountain bike stage racing field. Her young partner in team Devonbosch Vertice GTR, Lia Schieverts, is a German U23 rider and another stage race newcomer. Schieverts has however spent time in South Africa before, training with the German national team, and has been building up to the 2020 race in Stellenbosch; so, she will be acclimatised to the heat. The final team to watch is the all-South African combination of Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph. Galileo Risk Infinity’s women are accustomed to battling it out for local honours with the dormakaba teams. The absence of Hill and Ralph’s usual rivals could set them free to chase bigger goals. Expect Ralph to have a steadying influence on the excitable Hill and for the Galileo Risk Infinity team to do their utmost to be in the South African category shake up come the final stage of the 2020. The UCI S1 category stage race has attracted a powerful elite women’s field for the 2020 edition. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting.
  14. Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic (pictured) and Henrique Avancini start the 2020 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen as the five-star favourites. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Avancini was arguably the form rider of the last two editions of the race. In 2018 he continued to ride, for training, after Fumic withdrew with a back injury; keeping pace with the top general classification teams. Then in 2019 he stormed to victory, alongside Fumic, by 2-minutes and 54.5-seconds over their Cannondale Factory Racing stablemates Maxime Marotte and Cameron Orr. Marotte is one of the world’s most consistent cross-country campaigners and has twice finished runner up at the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. His 2019 partner, Orr, returns for a second bite at the Bokkeveld apple (the mixing of metaphors is derived from the region’s primary agricultural export). The 20-year-old Brit once again joins the experienced French star in support of Fumic and Avancini. The 2020 edition could well see a rekindling of the 2019 battle between the Cannondale and BULLS squads. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Cannondale Factory Racing may well need that support as Team BULLS are sending a stacked three-team line-up to the UCI S1 categorised stage race. The BULLS Legends are represented by two former winners, 2018 champion, Alban Lakata and Karl Platt, the 2017 and 2016 champion. They will have the BULLS Heroes, led by Platt’s 2017 and 2016 partner, Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn to punch and counter-punch off. The two experienced BULLS squads have raced the trails of the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen so many times that they know the routes better than the South African riders. Martin Frey and Simon Schneller, of the BULLS Youngsters, complete the BULLS line-ups and are riding primarily in support of the Legends and Heroes teams. They will have a major role to play if the talented debutants Sebastian Fini and David Nordemann, of CST PostNL Bafang, can acclimatise to the rocky terrain and blistering African heat. The Devonbosch Stellenbosch combination, of Frans Claes and Soren Nissen have stage race experience aplenty and should challenge for a podium position. While BH – Wallonie’s Sebastien Carabin and Pierre de Froidmont along with Gerben Mos and Rob van der Werf, of Giant – Backdraft, conclude the stellar European line-up. The South African teams are not only competing for the overall title and the race’s significant prize purse. First place on the general classification, after four stages of racing, will net the winners R80 000. Which could be supplemented by the R25 000 prize for the first all-South African team overall and the R10 000 King of the Mountain prize; for the first team to reach the summit of the infamous Merino Monster on Stage 3. PYGA Euro Steel have historically been South Africa’s top stage race performers and will be looking to take the fight to the international riders. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. PYGA Euro Steel are arguably the favourites among the local teams. Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes have the stage racing pedigree to demand the respect of the other South African teams. They will once again be supported by PYGA Euro Steel 2’s Pieter du Toit and Philimon Sebona. Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit, of DSV Pro Cycling, are established rivals to Buys and Beukes’ crowns as the kings of the national stage race scene. There is a R25 00 prize for the first all-South African team on the overall classification, an honour won by Imbuko Giant in 2019. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. The highest placed South African team, from the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen, Nicol Carstens and Marco Joubert, of Imbuko Giant, will be fired up to race for a spot on the overall podium in 2020. Though they will have to contend with the road racers returning to the mountains, Jaco Venter and Jacques Janse van Rensburg. The First Move riders had stellar results in the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen in January. Venter and Janse van Rensburg placed 13th and 18th respectively, after struggling with punctures, in exceptionally challenging weather conditions. They will however be looking to improve on that showing and anything beyond a top ten finish will surely be regarded with disappointment. The first team to summit the Merino Monster, on Stage 3, will be rewarded with a R10 000 King of the Mountain prize. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Outside of the main favourites Namibians, Alexander Miler and Tristan de Lange will be dangerous outsiders for Danste Racing/Megatech. As will the Insect Science Pro team of Keagan Bontekoning and Alan Gordon. The Darkhorse Wheels Pro Cycling combination of Shaun Nick Bester and Alexandre Vialle complete the elite men’s line-ups. The Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen is famous for its incredible, but highly technical, singletrack riding. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting.
  15. Prepare to take part in a race like no other in the First Ascent Podium Cycling kit built to endure the challenging and unrelenting conditions of the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek. Click here to view the article
  16. Tough yet exhilarating, the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek is a highlight on all race calendars. Winding through the beautiful Bokkeveld and Witzenburg areas, this race features unique scenery, warm hospitality and trialling trails, making it a ride of a lifetime. With the launch of the Podium Range, which is the most advanced range ever made by First Ascent, it is only fitting to pair this new kit with a race that fits its profile. Tailored to the serious rider, the First Ascent Podium Cycling Bib and Podium Victory Jersey will ensure you are comfortable and supported when varying terrain and long hours on the saddle are inevitable - making the Podium range the perfect fit for the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek! Stand a chance to WIN a Momentum Health Tankwa Trek Team Entry and First Ascent Podium Cycling Kit valued at R23 500. Enter Now: https://www.firstascent.co.za/explore/community/tankwa-competition
  17. Event Name: 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, Presented By Biogen When: 7 February 2019 - 10 February 2019 Where: Kaleo Guest Farm, Western Cape Category: MTB Winding through the beautiful Bokkeveld and Witzenburg areas, this race features unique scenery, warm hospitality and tough yet exhilarating riding. This is the heart of deciduous fruit country. A region known for its unforgiving summers and harsh winters, trails through rocky outcrops, climbs steeper than the imagination can fathom and descents with a wicked technical twist combined with views to cherish forever. Trails – some hand built and smoothly sculpted, others rough and loose – always reward the adventurous. Join us this summer and experience the ride of a lifetime! Go to Event Page
  18. Henrique Avancini in action during the second stage of the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za Brazil’s Henrique Avancini and Germany’s Manuel Fumic once again snatched a hard-fought victory. The Cannondale Factory Racing pair set off with the leading yellow jerseys and targets on their backs. With no major attacks going clear in the early stages there was an eerie silence as the leading pack followed winding trails through the Witzenberg Valley. Avancini and Fumic held the fort and sussed out their rivals. The real battle unfolded on a 12km climb through pine plantations as riders entered the last third of the race. Team Bulls’ Simon Stiebjahn and Centurion Vaude’s Daniel Geismayr were among the protagonists who drove the tempo up front. There was a moment of high drama on the mountains as the yellow jerseys were briefly separated, and their rivals sought to exploit any chink in their armour. The leading group of men during the second stage. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za Cannondale Factory Racing kept their composure however and saved their legs for a final dash to the finish line. “I just tried to stay calm and keep it together on the descent back home. There are still two hard stages to go, but we’re feeling strong and optimistic about the chance of winning this,” said Fumic. Urs Huber and Stiebjahn’s early efforts paid off with a solid second place for the day. It was the second Cannondale Factory Racing pair of Maxime Marotte and Cameron Orr who once again finished in third. At just 19-years old, Orr has truly been a revelation of the event thus far. One of the major upsets of the day came from a despondent Sam Gaze, who waved the white flag and pulled out of the race due to an illness. His Specialized Racing partner and local hero Alan Hatherly will race the event solo from tomorrow. “I’m really disappointed, but I think it was the right call in a situation like this. I love the climbing section of tomorrow’s stage, and couldn’t resist giving it a shot anyway,” said Hatherly. Ghost Factory Racing win the second stage of the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za The women’s race played out similarly with Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra securing the pink jerseys and bolstering their lead ahead of the third stage tomorrow. A stage win initially looked promising for Team Summit’s Candice Lill and Annie Last who were on the cusp of victory, or so it seemed. The team set the pace up front during the early stages of the race but suffered an untimely mechanical that ultimately denied them the chance of stage glory today. “We managed to limit our losses, and with the Queen stage tomorrow the race is far from over,” said a determined Lill. Silverback Fairtree’s Jennie Stenerhag and Mariske Strauss were happy to snatch up second on the day, however, and ultimately narrow the gap on their competitors. With less than three minutes separating the leading teams, the podium is far from decided. Tomorrow riders will face the climb of all climbs – the infamous ‘Merino Monster.’ Fans will wait in anticipation to see which pair of legs will conquer the unrelenting ascent after the energy-sapping heat of the last two days. Breathtaking early starts at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za
  19. Henrique Avancini leading the first stage of the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za The punchy 29km route revealed singletrack in and around Kaleo that has been developed in secret and kept under wraps for years. Riders were taken through orchards, past rocky outcrops and over dam walls as local farmer Ernst van Dyk opened up his ‘private reserve’ of technical mountain bike bliss. While the route was predicted to suit the Cross Country specialists to a tee, it was the reigning Marathon World Champion Henrique Avancini and his German teammate Manuel Fumic who stole the show. With temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees Celsius, the Cannondale Factory Racing team set the field alight to come home in a blistering winning time of 1:04:07. Cross Country star Sam Gaze in action during the first stage. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za The Specialized pair of Alan Hatherly and Sam Gaze were deemed as favourites for the first stage and almost seemed to purposefully hold back during sections of the race. Whether it was the effects of the Koue Bokkeveld’s sweltering heat or a calculated plan will only be revealed in the marathon stages to come. Fans will also be eager to see if the Cannondale team will be able to maintain their intensity. Avancini seems to be throwing caution to the wind this year, however, and clearly has a point to prove, a scary prospect for the chasing pack. “Manuel had an injury last year and we had to pull out. I always like to go back to places where I had any kind of setback and get over it. The best way to do that would be to win the 2019 edition!” said Avancini. Rounding out the men’s podium was the second Cannondale Factory Racing team of Maxime Marotte and rising British star Cameron Orr. Team Ghost Factory Racing's Barbara Benko at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za The women’s race was no less of an epic early race showdown. South African favourite Candice Lill and England’s Annie Last (Team Summit) set off guns blazing and dominated the first half of the race. Just over halfway in, an issue with Last’s seat forced her to briefly stop. Ironically, it was Ghost Factory Racing’s Anne Terpstra and Barbara Benko who seized the opportunity and slipped by - a team that had only entered the event at the last minute. “Tankwa Trek wasn’t on our racing calendar at all! I happened to be in South Africa at the same time as Anne, and asked her if she’d be interested in entering the race with super short notice. Now that we’ve got the yellow jerseys, our whole approach has changed – we’re definitely looking to hold onto them now!” explained Benko. In third place was Silverback Fairtree’s Jennie Stenerhag and Mariske Strauss, who showed that they are going to fight tooth-and-nail among a stacked female field for the 2019 Tankwa Trek throne. The rugged Koue Bokkeveld Photo: www.zcmc.co.za
  20. Manuel Fumic celebrates a hard-fought victory at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za The Cannondale Factory Racing team won three out of four stages to finish with a hard-earned three-minute gap on their competitors. The victory comes especially sweet after the 2018 event, where Fumic was forced to abandon the race due to injury. “Racing comes with a lot of life lessons. We were devastated last year, and I made a promise that I’d keep coming back to this event with Manuel until we eventually won it. Proud to overcome that setback today and get some solid preparation for the season ahead,” said Avancini. Having thoroughly enjoyed the event’s setup at Kaleo Guest Farm, Fumic added: “The Tankwa Trek is an event we plan to keep on the calendar for a really long time. It’s the perfect mix of intense racing and just a whole lot of fun. I salute the non-professional riders that finished today – we got to hang out with them this week and realised that they’re the real heroes.” Locals high-five Henrique Avancini at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za It was Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn that crossed the finish line first on the final stage. The Team Bulls riders were the main protagonists for the Tankwa Trek throne, but after an unfortunate wrong turn in the final kilometres of stage three were ultimately forced to settle for fourth overall. The 2019 overall podium was then rounded out by the ‘backup’ Cannondale Factory Racing team of Maxime Marotte and Cameron Orr, and Denmark’s Simon Andreasson and Jonas Lindberg in third. At just 19-years old, Orr left a deep impression on the elite men’s field. Honoured to have competed with Marotte, he enthused, “When I was teamed up with a legend like Maxime for this event I was obviously nervous. I’m just glad to not only have proved to him, but also to myself, that I am capable of keeping up with the pace of the top riders in this sport.” Scenes from the final stage of the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za After an exciting turn of events in the women’s field, local fans were elated to see a set of South African hands on the Tankwa Trek trophy. Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag and South Africa’s own Mariske Strauss stormed to their second consecutive stage victory and the overall title. It was a slow start to the event for the Silverback Fairtree pair, who had to play catch up after a testing first half of the event. “If there was a section of the race that we knew we were going to shine, it was on the Merino Monster. We narrowed the gap on the rest of the field on that climb, and then just kept it together to hold onto that lead on today’s stage,” explained Stenerhag. Team Silverback Fairtree win the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za A clearly ecstatic Strauss added, “This was the perfect way to lay down a marker for the rest of the season. It’s so good for me individually, and for women’s cycling in general, to have the opportunity to compete against such an elite field.” The cycling god’s were cruel to Team Summit’s Annie Last and Candice Lill, who were plagued by mechanical issues in the opening stages of the race. The pair fought hard for their second spot overall, however, and their form bodes well for the remainder of the season. Ghost Factory Racing’s Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra finished in third. Tankwa Trek victory initially looked promising for the pair of National Champions who raced the first two stages donning the pink jerseys. Adding a cherry to the top of an already highly successful event, Momentum and Biogen announced the extension of their contract for another three years. Tankwa Trek riders will head home with elation as they look forward to the 2020 instalment.
  21. Team Silverback Fairtree win the third stage of the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za An adrenaline fuelled descent aptly labelled ‘Du Toit Drop’ created conflicting emotions as riders enjoyed the thrill of the downhill but also feared the climb to follow. In the back of everybody’s mind, the infamous ‘Merino Monster’ loomed large - the meanest mountain biking ascent in South Africa. After yet another action-packed day of racing, Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag and South Africa’s Mariske Strauss turned the women’s general classification on its head. The powerhouse pair motored up the Merino Monster and created a significant gap on their rivals. The infamous Merino Monster. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za Not only did they claim the ‘Queen of the Mountain’ crown, but also snatched up the pink jerseys and overall lead for Silverback Fairtree. Behind them, a fierce battle for the podium unfolded. Ghost Factory Racing’s Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra gave everything to hold onto the pink jerseys, but suffered at the hands of the rugged Koue Bokkeveld terrain. “We are riding on hardtail bicycles, which have their advantages and disadvantages. The only challenge is that they’re very susceptible to punctures, and I think we picked up every single thorn out there today!” explained Terpstra. Jennie Stenerhag on the climb of all climbs - the Merino Monster. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za Also looking to lay down an early season marker was Team Summit’s Candice Lill and Annie Last. The pair has been tested both physically, mentally and mechanically over the last two stages. Their hope of making up time almost seemed lost today as they fell dismally behind on the Merino Monster. “It’s never over until it’s over! When Annie and I reached the top of Merino we decided to give the descent everything we had left. Before we knew it we’d passed two teams and finished in second place for the day!” enthused Lill. Team Summit has now clawed back up the leader board to the third spot overall - less than two minutes behind Silverback Fairtree. After a testing day in the saddle, Ghost Factory Racing’s Terpstra and Benko moved to second on the women's general classification. As riders head into the final stage tomorrow, the race for the Tankwa Trek throne will be as heated as ever. Early morning start for the leading men at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za As if the Merino Monster wasn’t tormenting enough, the men’s podium results were initially undecided today after an unfortunate wrong turn. After a powerful performance on the unrelenting climb, Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn (Team Bulls) together with Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (Pyga Euro Steel) pulled away from the rest of the field and either team looked set to take the win. Surprisingly, Cannondale Factory Racing’s Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic crossed the finish line first. They were followed home by Cannondale Factory Racing’s Maxime Marotte and Cameron Orr, and then Denmark’s Simon Andreasson and Jonas Lindberg in third. “The stage's results will remain the same as the finish line positions. I have gone to see the point on the route where the wrong turn occurred, and could find no fault with the route markings,” said Deon Steyn, UCI chief commissaire.
  22. Some action from the 2018 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za After the recent announcement of a notable men’s field, fans will be excited to discover that the women’s event will be no less of an epic throwdown. Swiss superstar Ariane Luthi will line up with former South African Cross Country Champion Cherie Redecker for Team Kross-Computer Mania. Luthi is a multiple winner of the most gruelling mountain bike stage races in the world, including the Absa Cape Epic, the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen and the Swiss Epic. With a partner like Redecker, who is renowned for her technical abilities, Luthi seems particularly excited for the Tankwa Trek this year: “This is one of the more challenging four-day stage races and a great test of equipment, mental capacity and physical endurance. I love how rough and technical these trails are – they sure make for a true African experience! Cherie shines on rugged terrain and also has a lot of experience in this area,” said a hopeful Luthi. With a strong reverence among her competitors for her fierce marathon racing ability, Luthi will undoubtedly be a target for Swedish rival Jennie Stenerhag. “I’ve done every Tankwa Trek since it started, it’s been really nice to see how it’s grown. Knowing that all four days of racing will be live streamed this year definitely adds an extra dimension and will take the race up a notch. Mariske and I ride really well together - I’m excited to see what we will do,” said Stenerhag. The 2017 Cape Epic champion had a quiet 2018 by her own high standards, but looked more determined than ever at the recent Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen where she came painfully close to victory in a sprint finish. As she partners with Mariske Strauss for Silverback Fairtree, local fans will have high hopes of seeing South African hands on the 2019 trophy. Strauss is the reigning National Cross Country Champion and comes into the race off the back of a strong 2018 which saw her and Annie Last take 3rd at the Cape Epic. Defending champion Candice Lill, who left Team Dormakaba in April last year to pursue success internationally, also had an impressive 2018 season. She racked up fourth at the Cape Epic with Amy McDougall and second at the South African National Championships – XCO. She will team up with Annie Last – who made headlines last year when she claimed England’s first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal in women’s Cross Country cycling. Team Dormakaba's leading ladies Sam Sanders and Amy McDougall will present stiff South African competition. McDougall, the defending champion of the Cape Epic’s Absa African Jersey, joined the team in May last year and proved to make a powerhouse pairing with Sanders. “I participated in my first Tankwa last year and I had fairly high expectations because of the all the positive things I had heard about the event. All I can say is that it lived up to its reputation! I’m very excited to race it with Amy this year – our shared love for riding bikes and similar skills makes us a formidable combo…” said Sanders. Sam Sanders at the 2018 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za Other South African riders looking to make an early-season statement is the Galileo Risk pair of Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph. “This race is really important for Theresa and I - every chance we get to race at a UCI level gives us the opportunity to better ourselves, our standard of racing, and our exposure as competitive female South African MTB racers. Slowly we have been climbing the ranks, and in 2019 we expect to take another fantastic step up,” explained Hill. Rounding out the women’s event is an international pair of reigning National Champions. The Netherland’s Anne Terpstra and Hungary’s Barbara Benko will certainly add fire to the already heated field of riders as they team up for Ghost Factory Racing.
  23. The 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen takes place from 7-10 February. With the second highest UCI status of any event on the continent and the recent addition of a live streaming component, the stage race is fast becoming a global icon on the mountain biking calendar. As a result, the pedigree that the event has enticed to South African shores in 2019 is noteworthy. Early morning start at the 2018 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za The Tankwa Trek is the first real showdown for the big names in this sport as they throw down the gauntlet for the 2019 season. One of the many storylines that will unfold is the battle between Mountain Bike Marathon World Champion Henrique Avancini, and the 2018 runner up Daniel Geismayr. Avancini will partner with multiple German Champion Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing), while Geismayr will be paired with the experienced Jochen Kaß (Team Centurion Vaude). “There are so many new teams and big names and it’s not easy to single out any particular threat, but it will sure make for some good and intense racing,” said Fumic. Defending champion Alban Lakata is teaming up with Germany’s Karl Platt, 5-time winner of the Cape Epic. The riders will put decades of rivalry aside to make up a powerhouse pairing for Team Bulls for the first time ever. “Karl is ‘Mister Stage Race’ and I‘m very excited to race with him and learn from him. So yes, it is an absolute honour to be defending last year’s title with my new partner,” commented Lakata on partnering with the legendary Platt. This formidable team is one of three that Team Bulls have announced they will be sending to the race this year. The immensely powerful Swiss Urs Huber with partner Simon Stiebjahn, as well as young guns Martin Freyand and Simon Schneller make up the rest of an incredibly imposing team. “I'm sure that we will be a team to beat this year. Simon is very motivated after finally being unleashed as a fully-fledged Team Bulls member! He can dig very deep and gives absolutely everything!” said Huber. The leading peloton at the 2018 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za Adding to the list of superstars is a pair of U23 World Champions. South African favourite Alan Hatherly, who made headlines when he was crowned 2018 U23 Cross Country World Champion, has partnered with Samuel Gaze for Team Specialized. The outrageously talented New Zealander made a massive breakthrough in 2018. He was not only crowned Commonwealth Games Champion but also shook the world of mountain biking by defeating the legendary Nino Schurter at the MTB World Cup race in Stellenbosch. Another genuine contender for the Tankwa crown is Maxime Marrot (Cannondale Factory Racing 2). The Frenchman had an unbelievable 2018 World Cup season and will ride with 19-year-old Cameron Orr from Britain who is rapidly making a name for himself. Another pair of young guns that are set to add even more fireworks to the action is Team Denmark. Simon Andreasson and Jonas Lindberg will not be afraid to throw everything they have at the race in an effort to upset the old guard. South African riders looking to make a name for themselves in the sport have not passed up the opportunity to test themselves against the best the world has to offer on home soil. High on the list of South African contenders are last year’s third-place finishers Team Pyga Euro Steel teammates Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys. The pair will be looking to get the title back into South African hands, and have a strong reputation at Dryland events as local favourites. Team NAD MTB’s Matt Beers, Gawie Combrinck, Nico Bell and Wessel Botha are other strong South African riders looking to make an early-season statement. News on the women's pro field to follow shortly.
  24. The Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, has added a 4th stage to the 2019 event which will provide the elite riders – like Centurion Vaude by Goldwurst Power’s Nicola Rohrbach & Daniel Geismayr (pictured) – with an additional opportunity to gain time on their rivals. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. “We’re really excited to add a new opening stage to the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen,” Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management enthused. “Since the inception of the Tankwa Trek in 2013, there has been an explosion of trails around the race village at Kaleo Manor. But we’ve never really been able to use them in the race; which is a real shame as Ernst van Dyk and his team have done a superb job building the trails.” For 2019 the UCI have changed their rules regarding stage races slightly and to maintain the Tankwa Trek’s S1 status – which ensures international stars like Manuel Fumic, Henrique Avancini, Maxime Marotte, Helen Grobert, Alban Lakata, Kristian Hynek, Nicola Rohrbach, Daniel Geismayr and Urs Huber are motivated to take part – an extra stage had to be added. The new Stage 1 see riders starting in category batches, allowing them to directly race their general classification rivals on the trails surrounding the race village. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. Most importantly, the addition of the extra stage does not affect the event entry fee. The additional 32 kilometres of racing – and all that entails including full medical support, a typically well-stocked Dryland water point and media coverage is therefore essentially free. The compact nature of the new Stage 1 route and the success of the 2018 live broadcast also has the Tankwa Trek’s media partners Bigshot Media exceptionally excited. “We are looking at the possibility of live streaming the short punchy stage as it would be a great teaser to showcase the strength of the world’s most prestigious four day UCI MTB stage race” said Mark le Roux, the owner of Bigshot Media. The Kaleo singletracks, which have been largely unused by the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, will form the base of the new stage’s route. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. 2018 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, runner-up and current South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot, is thrilled by the addition of an extra stage. “It will add a great dimension to the race” the Ascendis Health star said. “A stage in and around the Kaleo area will certainly add for some exciting spectatorship and a nice burn in both the legs and lungs for the pro’s. The rock formations and trail network will most certainly contribute to a spectacular backdrop. We need these UCI status races in South Africa, so special thanks to Dryland for adapting and ensuring their events meet these criteria,” she concluded. Team Bulls’ Swiss ace, Urs Huber, has been crowned champion of the race twice and has also won the solo men’s category, so he knows exactly what it takes to succeed at the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. “I don't think that a short opening stage will affect the general classification too much after four days,” Huber said. “The other three stages, we know from the past years, are still too selective and will make the classification, I believe. But for sure, the new opening stage will make the race more interesting in the beginning and more open. Maybe some more teams now have the opportunity to take the leaders’ jersey after day one,” he elaborated. To ensure the stage is spectator friendly, the route will remain within close proximity to the race village at Kaleo Manor. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. The 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is set to take place between the 7th and the 10th of February next year. To accommodate riders traveling from further away Dryland Event Management will be offering the option of an additional night’s accommodation, dinner on Wednesday evening and breakfast on Thursday. These extras can be booked through the online entry portal. For more information on the race, including the Stage 1 route details, please visit www.tankwatrek.co.za.
  25. Despite spending the first hour plus on dirt roads, the sights and sunrises of the Tankwa Karoo provided ample entertainment. Due to a questionable decision by the organisers, today’s start took place with all seeding batches leaving simultaneously instead of with the usual two to five-minute gap between groups. The first 30 kilometres of the stage took place on flat district road, resulting in frenetic high-speed bunches forming. Photo credit: Zoon Cronje. Although we were quickly dropped by the lead bunches, we found ourselves caught up in a large group. About ten kilometres into the stage there was an implosion, as a rider somewhere ahead slid out on a patch of sand. I was lucky to avoid the ensuing pile-up of bikes and bodies but Nick was forced to perform an interesting emergency dismount onto a fallen rider. After checking bikes and limbs and the state of the fallen we were on our way again. But now Nick had decided that he was done with bunch riding and made a solo breakaway for most of the remaining twenty kilometres of dirt road. Leaving me to spin hamster watts in his wake trying to keep up. Caught out grabbing pocket. After heading through the first water point we were onto the legendary Houdenbek trails. It is not often that trails live up to the hype created at an event but these trails are very special. They wind through sandstone rock formations and pristine Fynbos in a way that is quite unlike anything else I have experienced. They split and rejoin at intervals so you can choose different options, and race your partner, or try and overtake other riders if you are feeling frisky. Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.After following a flowing loop, under, over and around sandstone boulders, a leg testing switchback climb took us out of the valley and onto more trails until the second water point. We then faced another stretch of flat roads and jeep track, mixed up with a few rolling hills. Before too long our next adventure befell us. A rather long piece of barbed wire wrapped itself around Nick’s rear wheel at speed, making a spine-chilling grating noise as it gouged his carbon chainstay. Luckily no other damage was done and we managed to untangle the wire after some puzzling. Fortunately, the remainder of the ride went smoothly, and we wound our way back onto the magical Kaleo trails for the last dose of sand, rocks, and good times before hitting the finish line. This race has been one of the toughest but most rewarding events I have been lucky enough to participate in. The route is sublime, in almost every case a long climb is rewarded with a challenging and exciting descent, set against the backdrop of the striking Karoo landscape. The route is hard on bikes and bodies, as illustrated by the number of mechanicals, injuries and other war stories shared by riders at the end of each day. This makes finishing a real accomplishment to be proud of. I’m already plotting to come back next year, fitter and better prepared: I have a date with the Merino Monster. Done and dusted.
My Profile My Forum Content My Followed Content Forum Settings Ad Messages My Ads My Favourites My Saved Alerts My Pay Deals Settings Help Logout