Blistering Koue Bokkeveld victories on stage 1

The world’s top mountain bikers have arrived in the Koue Bokkeveld for South Africa’s premier four-day stage race, the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. The 2019 event was more eagerly anticipated than ever. A ground-breaking live streaming component, as well as a brand new opening stage, has had mountain bike fanatics licking their lips for months now.

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Henrique Avancini leading the first stage of the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za

 

The punchy 29km route revealed singletrack in and around Kaleo that has been developed in secret and kept under wraps for years. Riders were taken through orchards, past rocky outcrops and over dam walls as local farmer Ernst van Dyk opened up his ‘private reserve’ of technical mountain bike bliss.

 

While the route was predicted to suit the Cross Country specialists to a tee, it was the reigning Marathon World Champion Henrique Avancini and his German teammate Manuel Fumic who stole the show. With temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees Celsius, the Cannondale Factory Racing team set the field alight to come home in a blistering winning time of 1:04:07.

 

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Cross Country star Sam Gaze in action during the first stage. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za

 

The Specialized pair of Alan Hatherly and Sam Gaze were deemed as favourites for the first stage and almost seemed to purposefully hold back during sections of the race. Whether it was the effects of the Koue Bokkeveld’s sweltering heat or a calculated plan will only be revealed in the marathon stages to come.

 

Fans will also be eager to see if the Cannondale team will be able to maintain their intensity. Avancini seems to be throwing caution to the wind this year, however, and clearly has a point to prove, a scary prospect for the chasing pack.

 

“Manuel had an injury last year and we had to pull out. I always like to go back to places where I had any kind of setback and get over it. The best way to do that would be to win the 2019 edition!” said Avancini.

 

Rounding out the men’s podium was the second Cannondale Factory Racing team of Maxime Marotte and rising British star Cameron Orr.

 

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Team Ghost Factory Racing's Barbara Benko at the 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za

 

The women’s race was no less of an epic early race showdown. South African favourite Candice Lill and England’s Annie Last (Team Summit) set off guns blazing and dominated the first half of the race.

 

Just over halfway in, an issue with Last’s seat forced her to briefly stop. Ironically, it was Ghost Factory Racing’s Anne Terpstra and Barbara Benko who seized the opportunity and slipped by - a team that had only entered the event at the last minute.

 

“Tankwa Trek wasn’t on our racing calendar at all! I happened to be in South Africa at the same time as Anne, and asked her if she’d be interested in entering the race with super short notice. Now that we’ve got the yellow jerseys, our whole approach has changed – we’re definitely looking to hold onto them now!” explained Benko.

 

In third place was Silverback Fairtree’s Jennie Stenerhag and Mariske Strauss, who showed that they are going to fight tooth-and-nail among a stacked female field for the 2019 Tankwa Trek throne.

 

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The rugged Koue Bokkeveld Photo: www.zcmc.co.za




4 Comments

Hilton., Feb 08 2019 09:54

Its badly advertised, but Live streaming is showing on Dryland Event Management's Youtube channel:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=KDR5cD9mr5s

Headshot, Feb 08 2019 10:48

Friend doing it solo says he sufferd badly in the heat yesterday, as did his rear brake which tried to stop his forward motion on its own. Apparently his wasnt the only one. Shimano XT in his case I believe.

Vegan Warrior, Feb 08 2019 11:57

Friend doing it solo says he sufferd badly in the heat yesterday, as did his rear brake which tried to stop his forward motion on its own. Apparently his wasnt the only one. Shimano XT in his case I believe.

On the bright side, at least it wasn't his front brake that decided to suddenly stop his forward motion.

 

Yes indeed did hear a coupla stories of brake issues, not surprising in that extreme heat. Stand to be corrected but the primary cause would be to much fluid in the brake line which then expands in the heat and causes them to bind to rotor. I can imagine different braking systems, type of fluid used and type of housing could make things more or less susceptible to change though. Only solution (given temperature stays the same) would then be to bleed some out. 

 

All the best to your friend! 

splat, Feb 11 2019 12:34

Friend doing it solo says he sufferd badly in the heat yesterday, as did his rear brake which tried to stop his forward motion on its own. Apparently his wasnt the only one. Shimano XT in his case I believe.

 

My XT's performed flawlessly all weekend.

That course was hard! Brakes and suspension had to be on point