‘Just finish it off and get it over and done,’ is the approach that Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade) will have on Saturday (28 August 2010) with regard to the MTN ultra-marathon in Cullinan.
Evans has, so far this year, already won three of the four races in the MTN series, namely Attakwas, Sabie and Clarence. This means that all he needs to do on Saturday to win the series overall again, is to finish in the top three.
But knowing Evans’s competitive spirit, it is safe to predict that he will want to clinch the series in style with at least one last victory.
However, Evans admits that he will be somewhat disadvantaged because he has no idea what the course in and around Cullinan will be like.
“I am planning to ride as much of the course as possible on Friday, just to get an idea of which of my Volcan mountain bikes I should use.”
Evans took a well deserved break after the World Marathon Championship in Germany. He even had a chance to celebrate the second birthday of his daughter, Ruby, with her.
“The break definitely did me well. I continued to ride, but nothing structured. I basically just ensured that my mountain bike’s wheels kept on turning. My batteries are now charged for this year’s last six weeks of racing.
“As far as the race is concerned, I have no definite strategy. I will just make sure that I keep up with the front riders and, if an opportunity should arise, I will try to make the most of it. I will certainly not be the one who sets the pace at the beginning of the race. I will leave that to the riders who reckon they can win.”
According to Evans, apart from him, Max Knox (DCM) is the only rider who still has a chance of winning the series overall.
“If Max should pull off a victory on Saturday, the pressure will be on, because that would mean that he has two victories to my three and there are just two races remaining in the series. “
Knox won the first race in the MTN race in Barberton.
However, if one could believe Knox, winning in Cullinan is not that important to him.
“I was slightly injured and could only start to train again two weeks ago. Therefore, I have not set myself any definite goals. I will see how the race plays out. Perhaps I will get a lucky break.”
The other riders with a chance of winning are Francois Theron and Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin-adidas); Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized-Mr Price) and Brandon Stewart (DCM).
Evans tips his MTN-Energade teammate, Adrian Niyonshuti, as also having a realistic chance of winning.
“Adrian has proved this year that he has what it takes to win races. All he needs is a little bit of luck and slightly more experience.”
As far as the women’s race is concerned, Caitlin de Wet (Specialized Mr Price) must be regarded as a firm favourite, especially in the absence of Yolandé Speedy and Mariske Strauss (both MTN-Energade) who are in Canada where they will compete in the UCI Cross-country World Championship next weekend.
Riders like Yolandi du Toit (Bizhub) and Karien van Jaarsveld, Carla Rowley and Samantha Oosthuizen are the other favourites.