Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MTN XCO#3, George, Saasveld

The third leg of the MTN Cross Country series took place at Saasveld over the weekend and the fantastic venue made for a super weekend of racing as usual. The only unusual thing about this cross country race was the absence of Burry Stander, and the inclusion of myself, making a return to cross country racing after a three year break from the Olympic format of moutainbike racing. I quickly realized in the next two years why I don’t compete in this discipline but can also see the benefits of it!
I had a great start and followed the three Garmin riders into the very technical course, a 5.5km lap which consisted of 90% singletrack. I was content with my position but close to the end of the first lap, Philip Buys put an attack in and I rode across to him, making a gap on the rest of the field and leading him over the start finish for the fastest lap of the day. From this point on in the race, it was between Philip and I for the rest of the race as we continued to ride away from the rest of the field. The course was really flat and very technical which obviously suited Philips’s strengths, and meant I had my work cut out for me. I took a really hard fall on the fifth lap, breaking a couple spokes which I had to remove from my wheel, and also breaking my little finger. I managed to pull myself together and ride back to Philip.
The last three laps we took turns in trying to get rid of each other and after numerous attacks, it was going to come down to a sprint.
Philip was more explosive across the grass to the finish line and took a well earned win for himself and the Gamin/Adidas boys. As Philip is u/23, it meant I won the elite category and took 2nd in the pro-elite group, but made a welcome return this hard format of racing!
Team mate Paul Cordes rode a good race to finish in 4th place in the elites, his consistency putting him in a great position for the overall cup series.

Next race for me should be some European road racing, just waiting for confirmation on that. If it comes off though, it will be the Circuito Montanes in Spain as part of the National team. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
Pro-Elite group:
1st Phillip Buys (Garmin/Adidas) 2hrs03min
2nd Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade)
3rd Marc Bass (Garmin/Adidas)
4th Ben Melt Swanepoel (Mr Price/Specialized)
5th Paul Cordes (MTN/Energade)