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There’s nothing quite like three days of full-gas stage racing to kick start your season!
The Tankwa Trek provided just that, with Martin and Mariske pairing up with Martin Frey and Yolande De Villiers respectively to challenge some of the very best of the World’s stage and marathon racers.
Over three tough, classic South African stages, our riders duked it out for daily podium places and general classification glory. The route was technical and testing, with plenty of single track to keep our cross-country riders happy. However, with the likes of powerhouse pairings Karl Platt/Urs Huber, and Alban Lakata/Kristian Hynek in the Men’s race, and big name riders like Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss in the Women’s, it was not going to be an easy task to take on the front of the race.
Stage One set the tone with a typically hot and hard day of pedal-to-metal racing. A strong South African sun played its part, with ‘the Martins’ suffering in the middle of the stage but recovering well. Gluth felt happy with his form and said his partnership with fellow German, Frey, was working well. They finished in a fine fifth place. Mariske and Yolande settled quickly into the rhythm of the race. They sat second into the first piece of single track and retained that position to the finish with a strong and steady pace.
Stage Two was defined by the monster climb! Both ‘the Martins’ and Mariske and Yolande rode conservatively on the climb and this meant they could hold a good pace to the finish whilst other teams suffered. With another second place, the ladies retained their overall position, and with another fifth place, the Men moved up to fourth.
The final stage was set; Mariske and Yolande had their second place to defend and were ready to pounce if the leaders faltered, and Martin and Martin were in close battle for anything between second and sixth place overall! The ladies did have the opportunity to seize the front of the race and they took it in fine style, riding at the head of the field for much of the day and taking a fine win. The Men were also right in amongst the action, racing with the lead group right up until ten kilometres to go. In the end they sprinted it out for a podium place but missed out by just a couple of seconds.
Mariske was stoked to take a stage win and place second overall, whilst Martin was very happy to defend his 4th place in the General Classification.
Thanks to Tankwa Trek for a great event, and also a big thank you to Yolande and Martin Frey for teaming up with OMX and producing some super racing.
Martin and Mariske capped off their races with big smiles and a good feeling for the coming season.
And now…”we will have some days off!”, they said!