Kevin Evans (Nedbank 360Life) fended off strong challenges from Jacques Rossouw (FedGroup-Itec Connect) and the waterlogged course itself to take his second win in the 80km Extreme mountain bike race at Addo just outside Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Evans, who last won the mountain biking segment of The Herald VW Cycle Tour in 2009, outsprinted Rossouw as he entered the fields of the Addo Polo Club to take the title (3:10:17) two seconds ahead of his rival (3:10:19). His teammate James Reid completed the podium (3:14:39).
“PE is where I started my mountain biking career so it’s always satisfying to get a win here,” said Evans, who lives in Plettenberg Bay.
Despite the swampy conditions on the day, the 33-year-old adopted an attacking strategy from the outset in what rapidly became a race of attrition.
“I had the mindset that in these conditions you’re either going to give it or you’re going to take it. I was quite happy to put myself in the front rather than be on the receiving end.”
He set a fast tempo early in the race and succeeded in splitting the large bunch on the first hill.
“There were about five of us who got a gap and it came back together on the climb up the Zuurberg Pass.”
Halfway up Evans and Reid intensified their efforts, forcing teammates Rossouw and Brandon Stewart to follow.
Then an attack by Reid saw Stewart drop off the pace as the leaders went over the top to the turning