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.
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.
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.”
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 | 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)
Please visit www.tankwatrek.co.za to view the full results from Stage 1.