Strauss & Lill take the Tankwa Trek queen stage in style
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.
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.
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.
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.
The final stage of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, take in just 1 000-metres of climbing in 70-kilometres. It should be a fast day, filled with flowing singletrack. Mountain biking fans can follow the action on Twitter, @tankwatrek, from 06:30. Photo galleries and videos from the race are available on the Tankwa Trek Facebook page and on Instagram, @tankwatrek. Live tracking, thanks to SPOT, can be found here.
Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen Results
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 | 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)