Evans and Knox claim first stage of Sani2c

2014-05-16 00:00

FORMER champions Kevin Evans and Max Knox fired the opening salvo of the 10th annual Nedbank Sani2c to take the first stage of the three-day mountain bike race in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

Knox and Evans (FedGroup-Itec) led from the start of the 82 km stage from Underberg to power into the finish at MacKenzie Club near Ixopo in a time of 2:42:10.

Nearest challengers Erik Kleinhans and RECM team-mate Nico Bell, who won the event with Knox last year, followed them home in 2:42:24.

Darren Lill and Andrew Hill (Red-E/TIB) rounded out the podium in 2:43:36.

Five-time winner Evans said he and Knox, who has two titles to his name, had decided to go out all guns blazing on the fast and flat stage. “We decided to take the racing to the guys because this stage can be easy if you make it easy.”

They set the tempo on the Oak Maze single-track within the first 10 km and pushed the pace on the drag up the railway climb. By the time they reached the floating bridge over Mossbank Dam after 30 km, Knox and Evans had 20 seconds on Bell and Kleinhans.

Although Bell and Kleinhans were able to keep pace with the FedGroup-Itec pair for most of the day, it was Knox and Evans who had the legs on Tiny’s Climb at the end to forge ahead to the finish.

Evans said the Nedbank Sani2c was an essential part of their build-up to the marathon world championships in Pietermaritzburg next month.

“I would go so far as to say the first four guys today would probably be the ‘A’ choice for the South African team but we’ll leave that one up to the selectors.”

There was high drama in the women’s race as early leader Theresa Ralph, riding with Jeannie Dreyer (Hi-Tec/USN), crashed out in the first 15 km with a broken wrist. It cleared the way for national marathon champion Robyn de Groot and former Swedish road champion Jennie Stenerhag (Biogen Toyota-Cape Brewing) to win the stage in 3:12:32.

Yolande Speedy and Yolandi du Toit (Garmin-ASG) claimed the runner-up spot in 3:24:49, with Natalie Bergstrom and Tammy Visagie (Baeti) third in 3:40:23.

In the mixed category, three-time winner Ariane Kleinhans and new partner Lourens Luus (RECM) took the stage win in 2:56:45. They finished a full 16 minutes clear of second-placed Yolande de Villiers and Johan Labuschagne (Sasol Racing) in 3:12:49, who lost valuable time due to a cut tyre sidewall.

Igna de Villiers and Dalene van der Leek (LGE/Midas/Bells Cycling) completed the top three in 3:16:03.

Today, the riders take on the 99 km queen stage towards Highflats, which includes the well-known descent into the Umkomaas River Valley.

The 265 km race finishes at Scottburgh tomorrow.



1. Kevin Evans & Max Knox (FedGroup-Itec) 2:42:10

2. Erik Kleinhans & Nico Bell (RECM) 2:42:24

3. Andrew Hill & Darren Lill (Red-E/TIB) 2:43:36

4. Gawie Combrinck & Johann Rabie (EAI Cycling) 2:43:48

5. Rourke Croeser & Travis Walker (Kargo Pro) 2:45:16


1. Jennie Stenerhag & Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota-Cape Brewing) 3:12:32

2. Yolande Speedy & Yolandi du Toit (Garmin-ASG) 3:24:49

3. Natalie Bergstrom & Tammy Visagie (Baeti) 3:40:23

4. Nicky Booyens & Annie David (Turbo & Bee) 3:48:45

5. Lindsey Chicken & Judith Scheepers (BikePlus) 3:53:17


1. Ariane Kleinhans & Lourens Luus (RECM) 2:56:45

2. Yolande de Villiers & Johan Labuschagne (Sasol Racing) 3:12:49

3. Dalene van der Leek & Igna de Villiers (LGE/Midas/Bells Cycling) 3:16:03

4. Anneke Hanekom & Russell Lund (Just had a girl) 3:16:51

5. Hayley Smith & Nicholas Porteous (Bell Equipment) 3:18:27.

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