Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade) proved today that he is human after all when he and Adrien Niyonshuti finished second in the first stage of the DCM Cape Pioneer Tour.
The stage from Oudtshoorn to Mosselbaai (135km) was won by Max Knox and Thomas Zahnd (DCM) in five hours 43 minutes. Evans/Niyonshuti crossed the finish line at Milkwood Primary School 3 minutes and 09 seconds later with Brandon Stewart and Jacques Janse van Rensburg (DCM) third another 1 minute 14 seconds behind.
A few minutes after finishing Evans openly admitted that he was broken. It was quite a surprise because it is the first time this year that Evans used a negative word to describe his feelings after a race.
Judging by his performances in MTN’s ultra-marathon series where he managed to win five of the seven races one got the impression that the South African ultra-marathon champion is immune to suffering on a mountain bike.
“I started cramping in the last few kilometers as luck would have it the moment Max Knox attacked. Adrien was definitely the strongman today. When he realized that I was in trouble he took it onto himself to go to the front to set the tempo to ensure that we did not lose too much time. He was riding like Rolls Royce engin while my engin was like that of a second hand car which battled to start.”
Evans was being a bit too modest some might say. On the infamous Attakwas, which is considered to be one of the toughest mountain bike climbs, it was he who rode out in front at such hard pace that made it impossible for almost everybody to keep up. The only riders who refused to be intimidated by his aggressive riding were the two DCM teams.
What is impressive about Niyonshuti’s performance is the fact that on Wednesday he still represented Rwanda in the individual time trial at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
He only flew back to Rwanda on Thursday and arrived in South Africa on Friday.
According to Niyonshuti he surprised himself with the way he got stronger as the race progressed.
“I must admit that before the stage begun I was slightly worried because I had no idea how my legs were going to hold up after spending nearly two days at various airports and airplanes,” Niyonshuti said.
As far as being the MTN-Energade strong man, a modest Niyonshuti said he just did the job which is expected from any professional cyclist.
“Today I was the strongest rider of our team but it is still a long tour and lot can happen. I know Kevin will pull through when it really matters.”
“Despite a challenging first day of racing, Kevin and Adrien performed well. With several difficult sections on the first stage and with plenty of racing to come, our team is still right up there and will continue to push hard,” says Bernard Pieters, senior sponsorship manager at MTN South Africa.
For full results visit www.mtncycling.co.za