Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek Postponed to 2022
2021 hasn’t started too well for cycling event aficionados, with the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek the first of the big stage races to postpone until the Covid 19 pandemic has run its course. Hot on the heels of the cancellation of Transbaviaans, this was not an unexpected announcement; events that rely on race villages are simply not conducive to adequate social distancing and infection control.
“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,” 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.
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. The four-day UCI-graded event, which attracts many of the world’s elite racers, was scheduled to take place in the Koue Bokkeveld region, near Cape Town, South Africa from 4-7 February 2021.
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.
“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 5 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,” added Rademeyer.
“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.
“We share the frustration of not knowing what the future will bring, but we also know the importance and power of positivity.
“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 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 on the Tankwa Trek website.