The new pairing of Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens, under the banner of Team Imbuko Giant, kicked off their stage racing season at the 2019 Tankwa Trek, the four days of racing was their first outing as a pair and would prove to be vital racing preparation ahead of the ABSA Cape Epic.
Stage one got off to a less than ideal start, with Joubert going down within the first kilometre of racing as riders jostled for position heading into the first corner. The team limited their losses and regained focus, moving up to 5th on GC and first African team heading into the final stage. Joubert and Carstens were making their intentions very clear, they were there to race and did their best to distance their world-class rivals on numerous occasions throughout the race. Drama then struck on the fast and ferocious final stage, where Carstens experienced a nasty sidewall puncture. Two plugs, some calmness and composure, as well as a wheel change at the next tech zone allowed them to continue the chase, limiting time lost on the stage and ensuring that they finished 5th overall and as first African team.
The 2019 Tankwa Trek was the first race as a team, it was their first warning shot fired ahead of the ABSA Cape Epic. As part of a heavy training block and early season preparations, the team travelled to Port Elizabeth to partake in the Herald Cycle Tour MTB, where Joubert finished 2nd overall behind DSV’s Arno du Toit, with Carstens in 3rd and team manager, Max Sullivan, in 4th position. These races, including the Imbuko Wines Big 5 Challenge, all formed part of the plan and preparation to win the African riders Red Jersey competition at the 2019 Cape Epic.
Follow the team’s progress on their social media: @imbukogiant