Tankwa Trek Goes Global

Tankwa Trek gets boost with new sponsors and UCI status

DUTOIT Tankwa Trek 2016 Stage 3 as captured by Zoon Cronje

Picture: Zoon Cronje

 

The Tankwa Trek isn’t South Africa’s oldest three-day mountain bike stage race. Neither is it the biggest. But it is firmly on track to become the most internationally recognised, following the addition of two new sponsors and an upgrade to International Cycling Union (UCI) status. The three-day race, which was only established in 2013, has rapidly become one of the most prestigious mountain bike races in South Africa. This has resulted in the event attracting premium brand sponsors, Momentum Health and Biogen, as well as the awarding of UCI status from 2017.

The UCI grading will ensure the event offers UCI rankings points to top finishers, increased prize money and boosted media coverage, all of which is expected to attract South Africa’s best riders as well as a top international field. The event will be known as the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen.

The Tankwa Trek has a number of key factors in its favour, all of which have helped elevate the event rapidly:

Location: The race is held in the Kouebokkeveld (a two-hour drive from Cape Town), where there is significant elevation to ensure long, difficult climbs and descents as well as rugged, challenging terrain. This tests allround ability in riders, not just endurance as with most other three-day stage races.

Date: The race takes place either four or five weeks before the annual Absa Cape Epic. It’s the perfect form-check race because the terrain, gradient and racing intensity are all on a similar level to that of the Cape Epic.

Singletrack: A high percentage of singletrack changes the dynamic of a mountain bike race, favouring those that are more complete mountain bikers over those that have a largely road cycling background. The Tankwa Trek prides itself on its singletrack volume and the respect it has gained among top international mountain bike pros as a result.

Merino Monster: On Day 2 the Merino Monster challenges the competitors well beyond their comfort zones. Essentially a 20km climb with 1000m of vertical ascent, the Merino Monster is followed by a thrilling 20-plus minute technical descent and generally has a strong influence on the outcome of the overall race results in all categories.

“We intend to grow the Tankwa Trek each year in terms of its UCI status. It really is a hardcore racer’s event and we believe that we can take it all the way to the highest UCI grading. We will announce the prize money in January, but I can confirm that it will be significant!” said Henco Rademeyer, co-founder of the Tankwa Trek.

The 2017 Tankwa Trek will also have expanded media coverage, including livestreaming video coverage.

The women at the Tanka Trek will once again be racing for equal prize money to the men, thanks to Anderson Transport, which has committed its support to the women’s division. The intention is to boost the profile of the women’s category so that it starts to match the men’s in terms of big-name participants.

 In addition to Elite men and women’s categories, the Tankwa Trek also caters for Veteran Men (40-49 years), Master Men (50 years and older) and Mixed divisions, all of which have become highly competitive.

 There are limited entries remaining for the 2017 edition, which will take place from 10–12 February. To enter, or for more information, visit www.tankwatrek.co.za.

 

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