SUNDAY 27 MAY 2007EVANS PROVES THAT PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
by Sean Badenhorst
South African champion Kevin Evans confirmed his versatility at the weekend when he claimed the overall victory at the fourth round of the 2007 South African Cross-Country Mountain Bike Cup Series at Fountains, Pretoria.
The 28-year-old Raleigh MTN Energade rider, better known for his marathon and stage-racing ability, rode a well calculated race to finish ahead of a strong field on a technical six-lap cross-country course that put both skills and endurance to the test.
But the dusty, rocky route also proved to be a test of patience and Evans passed that with distinction as he let his rivals wear each other down with a frenetic early pace before picking them off one-by-one to claim his first SA Cup overall win of the year.
“I finished the first lap in ninth place but I knew that it was a very physical course with no real place to rest and that anyone that was strong in the latter stages would be in with a chance of winning,” said a delighted Evans, who clocked a winning time of two hours and six minutes.
Second place went to Mr Price GT’s Johan van Zyl, who was looking like the possible winner until Evans snuck up on him with a lap-and-a-half remaining.
“I’d moved up to fourth place after three laps and when I caught Johan on Lap 5 I surged past him on one of the very few overtaking sections and kept the pace high for about a kilometre,” explained Evans. “He stayed with me and just as I was thinking that I should tap off and save myself for another go near the end, he popped and I was able to get 20 seconds on him by the finish.”
Third place went to Roan Exelby (USN Landrover) with the Mazda Merida pair of Francois Theron and John Paul Pearton fourth and fifth respectively. Melt Swanepoel (Raleigh MTN Energade) was caught up in a crash on Lap 1 injuring his knee, but managed to remount and finish sixth overall.
Conspicuous by his absence from the fourth leg of the five-round national series was Mr Price GT’s Burry Stander, the overall winner of the previous three legs. Stander was racing on a bigger stage at the second event of the UCI World Cup in Germany.
The final round of the SA Cross-country Cup Series will take place in the Western Cape on 23 June 2007