Dryland Event Management – the organisers of the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, the only UCI S1 category stage race in South Africa – are proud to announce the addition of a 4th stage to the 2019 Tankwa Trek. The new stage will take place on the afternoon of Thursday the 7th of February 2019, followed by Stages 2 through 4 on the 8th, 9th and 10th of February.
“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.
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 opening stage will start at 15:00 on Thursday afternoon, with riders leaving in category batches. This allows the veteran, masters and mixed category competitors the chance to gauge the strength of their general classification rivals in the way that the elite men and women have been able to do with their separate start groups. The route will be 32 kilometres long, with a climb to thin out the groups before entering the brand new Kaleo singletracks, which have never been used for a race. The idea is to keep the route fun, as so far as that is possible, for the amateur riders – as we are aware of how challenge the Tankwa Trek is already. Being so short we do not expect it to shake up the general classification in the UCI categories too much, but it should make for exciting and tactical racing,” Rademeyer concluded.
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.
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 and the opportunities to hone her race form across four days the event now provides. “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! With such a short nippy distance, the time gaps are bound to be tight… but as we all know, one can lose a substantial amount of time if it doesn’t run smoothly. It’ll definitely add a nice new dimension to a fantastic race,” 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.
Sakkie Hanekom is not only one of the most influential men in the race, as the co-route designer alongside his brother Hannes for what will now become Stage 2 in the Witzenberg Valley, but also very skilled amateur rider in his own right. “The new Stage 1 will certainly give some extra substance to an already ‘full of flavour’ multi-stage mountain bike race, getting the rider focused before the real race starts! It’s a very welcome addition,” Sakkie Hanekom reflected.
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 details on the route click here.