After stage two of the DCM Cape Pioneer mountain bike tour it is starting to look as if Kevin Evans and Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Energade) are going to try and prove that there is truth in the saying about patience being a virtue.
In an exact repeat of the first day it was Max Knox and Thomas Zahnd (DCM) who won the second stage with Evans/Niyonshuti again finishing second.
Knox/Zahnd’s winning time for the stage from Mossel Bay to George (110km) was 4 hours 24 minutes and 20 seconds. Evans and Niyonshuti were 2 minutes 27 seconds slower. Charles Keey and Dave Morison (Blend Property Group) finished third, a further 6 minutes and 11 seconds behind.
It certainly does not happen often that Evans has a big grin on his face especially after a second place finish but then there is always the exception to the rule.
Before anyone could ask the South African ultra-marathon champion the reason for his obvious happiness, he explained it himself.
“I have got my racing legs back and that is exciting because I got slightly worried with the way I raced during stage one.”
Actually one got the idea quite early on during the second stage that Evans was thoroughly enjoying himself. Whenever the media car passed the breakaway group which consisted of eight teams Evans smiled, or gave a thumbs up sign. During one of toughest sections he even had time to comment on how nice the scenery was.
According to Evans the only little bit of bad luck they had the whole day happened on the last really technical single track section when Niyonshuti got stuck behind one of the slower riders whose technical skills were not totally up to scratch. Evans was upfront chasing Knox/Zahnd.
“There was nothing we could do about it. Adrien just had to bide his time until there was an opportunity for him to get pass by then it was too late to catch up with Max and Thomas,” Evans said.
As usual Evans is hesitant to make bold predictions.
“It would be stupid to talk about a possible overall victory when we are six minutes behind and there are still four stages left. A lot could still happen. The only thing I am prepared to say is that if the opportunity to win should arise in the next four days, Adrien and I will certainly try and make the most of it.”
At the moment it is as if the riders from MTN-Energade and DCM are involved in tactical game of chess in which one stupid mistake or serious mechanical failure could lead to a checkmate situation.
Knox and Zahnd need at least to increase their lead with two or three minutes to have a realistic chance of an overall victory, however the big question is how Knox’s legs are going to hold up.
His big disadvantage is that he has raced three days more than all of his rivals. Knox and Brandon Stewart won the Three Towers Tour on Sunday (17 October) and started racing the DCM Cape Pioneer the very next day.
After stage two there were already some indications that Knox was starting to get tired.
So it would be realistic to expect that Evans and Niyonshuti will do their utmost to force Knox out of his comfort zone during one of the remaining stages hoping that it would lead to him making a mistake.
It could also be that Evans/Niyonshuti might launch a serious attack if they get the idea that Knox is suffering.
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