The Tankwa Trek, which became the first race in South Africa to receive UCI S1 status in November last year, will boast a highly competitive field when the three-stage race starts on February 9.
Defending champions German Karl Platt and Swiss Urs Huber, riding for Team Bulls, will take part in the taxing mountain-bike race through the Koue Bokkeveld again this year in a bid to retain their title.
German Tim Bohme, who came second in the Attakwas Extreme two weeks ago, will pair up with compatriot Simon Stiebjahn for Bulls’ second team.
Austrian Alban Lakata and Swiss Kristian Hynek, who were among the favourites at last year’s Cape Epic, will pair up for Canyon Topeak and will undoubtedly pose a threat.
South African Erik Kleinhans, who raided the peaks in Europe last year, and American Jeremiah Bishop will form a partnership for Canyon Topeak’s second team.
Locally, Attakwas Extreme and last year’s National MTB Series champ Matthys Beukes will once again make up a formidable PYGA Euro Steel partnership with Philip Buys. The pair won the overall titles at the Wines2Whales race and Berg and Bush last year.
For NAD Pro, Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck, who finished first and second respectively at the Barberton MTB Challenge last week, will pair up for the event.
The two came second at the Cape Pioneer Trek in October last year behind Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers.
Beers, who now rides for NAD Pro’s second team and won the overall Mpumalanga Tour two weeks ago, will pair up with Wessel Botha for the Tankwa Trek.
The elite field of local and international riders have been allured by a significant sum of prize money as well as the opportunity to gain UCI points.