Reigning mountain bike marathon World Champion Henrique Avancini and his German partner Manuel Fumic were crowned 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen champions on Sunday, 10 February 2019.
The Cannondale Factory Racing team won three out of four stages to finish with a hard-earned three-minute gap on their competitors. The victory is especially sweet after the 2018 event, where Fumic was forced to abandon the race due to injury.
Fumic says they thoroughly enjoyed the event’s setup at Kaleo Guest Farm and added: “The Tankwa Trek is an event we plan to keep on the calendar for a really long time. It’s the perfect mix of intense racing and just a whole lot of fun. I salute the non-professional riders that finished today – we got to hang out with them this week and realised that they’re the real heroes.”
Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn crossed the finish line first on the final stage. The Team Bulls riders were the main protagonists for the Tankwa Trek throne, but after an unfortunate wrong turn in the final kilometres of stage three, they were ultimately forced to settle for fourth overall.
The 2019 overall podium was then rounded out by the ‘backup’ Cannondale Factory Racing team of Maxime Merotte and Cameron Orr, and Denmark’s Simon Andreasson and Jonas Lindberg in third.
After an exciting turn of events in the women’s field, local fans were elated to see a set of South African hands on the Tankwa Trek trophy. Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag and South African Mariske Strauss stormed to their second consecutive stage victory and the overall title.
It was a slow start to the event for the Silverback Fairtree pair, who had to play catch up after a testing first half of the event.
A clearly ecstatic Strauss said: “This was the perfect way to lay down a marker for the rest of the season. It’s so good for me individually, and for women’s cycling in general, to have the opportunity to compete against such an elite field.”
Team Summit’s Annie Last and Candice Lill were plagued by mechanical issues in the opening stages of the race. The pair fought hard for their second spot overall and their form bodes well for the remainder of the season.
Ghost Factory Racing’s Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra finished in third. Tankwa Trek victory initially looked promising for the pair of National Champions who raced the first two stages donning the pink jerseys.
Adding a cherry to the top of an already highly successful event, Momentum and Biogen announced the extension of their contract for another three years.