Dryland Event Management’s premier racing events – the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, and the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen – will once again boast Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) status in 2018. For next year though the traditional South African season opening Attakwas Extreme will feature class three status as well as forming part of the 29 race strong UCI Cross-Country Marathon World Series. The Tankwa Trek, meanwhile, moves up to S1, becoming the only race in South Africa to boast that exulted status.
The Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, takes place on Saturday the 20th of January next year and will be one of only five Marathon World Series events to take place outside of Europe in 2018. The notoriously tough event challenges riders to race 121 kilometres from the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn to the coastal holiday resort of Great Brak River. The route takes in the remote and historic Attakwaskloof, and features a rocky, energy sapping, first half and a second 60 kilometres made up of undulating district roads, in which the climbs become steeper and a greater test of rider’s psychological resolve as the finish line gradually approaches.
The 2017 Attakwas Extreme boasted a field of established international stars, including marathon world champions, national champions and Absa Cape Epic winners. Christoph Sauser, Karl Platt, Kristian Hynek, Annika Langvad, Ariane Lüthi and Robyn de Groot ensured that the racing was dramatic throughout this year, and the 2018 event should be no different. “Attakwas is a monument in South African cycling’s racing calendar. A monument because it is the race in January since forever! It is a huge challenge for everybody with a very character-filled route. It is super well organised and finishing Attakwas is a big deal for every participant,” 2017 winner and multiple former world champion, Christoph Sauser endorsed after this year’s race.
The Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, has rapidly grown – since its 2013 launch – into the premier three day stage race in South Africa and for 2018 it has the UCI status to match. The upgrade from S2 to S1 means more prize money for the elite riders and more all-important UCI points; will be on offer during the event which takes place from the 8th to the 11th of February. With the UCI MTB World Cup season kicking off, in South Africa, on the 10th of March the 120 points on offer for both members of the victorious elite men’s and women’s teams at the Tankwa Trek will be fiercely contested. Victory at the Tankwa Trek will secure riders more UCI points than winning their national cross country title, making participation a virtual must for any rider looking to start on the first three rows of the grid at the opening round of the UCI MTB World Cup.
“We are exceptionally proud that the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, has been granted S1 status by the UCI. It is currently the only S1 status event in the country, with only the Absa Cape Epic ranked higher at HC. But we won’t be resting on our laurels, we would love to see the Tankwa Trek gain HC status for 2019 too” reflected Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management.
Carel Bosman – Head of Sponsorships, Momentum – echoed Rademeyer’s sentiments: “The improved UCI ranking status is testimony of the incredible work that the Dryland team is doing. We at Momentum feel privileged to be a partner with such a world class team. It’s therefore fair to say that our participants in the 2018 can look forward to an even better experience on and off the bike. We commit ourselves fully to this.”
The final UCI event in the Dryland Event Management stable is the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen. It retains its S2 status for 2018 as the event moves into an exciting new era with its tenth edition next year. The 2018 Cape Pioneer Trek will take place from Sunday the 14th of October to Saturday the 20th and is set to include a prologue and a mid-race time trial in a diverse route which explores three distinct Southern Cape biomes.
Dryland Event Management, Momentum Health and Biogen are committed to continuing to introducing industry leading initiatives to enhance the rider experiences during the event and to facilitate an immersive fan experience for mountain bikers following the events from home. “Riders can expect even more of a festival atmosphere at the Attakwas Extreme finish in Great Brak, an even more luxurious race village experience at the Tankwa Trek, and we will also be launching an exciting addition to the Cape Pioneer Trek shortly – so watch this space” Rademeyer hinted. “Mountain biking fans and riders who cannot join us at the events, for whatever reason, will also be able to follow our UCI events like never before in 2018; we have exciting plans which we will be implementing with Bigshot Media and our connectivity partners BreedeNet. But those details will be revealed in due course” Rademeyer concluded.Two of mountain biking’s global stars, Karl Platt and Lukas Flückiger, in action during the 2017 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen.
Two of mountain biking’s global stars, Karl Platt and Lukas Flückiger, in action during the 2017 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Photo by Oakpics.com.