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Kevin Evans has raced his way into South African cycling folklore by becoming the first mountain biker to win an individual time trial at a national road racing championships.

The MTN-Energade rider blitzed the 38-kilometre course in Klerksdorp, clocking 48min 30sec to hold off EMG’s James Perry by a comfortable 27 seconds.

Third was Evans’ teammate Jaco Venter (49:17) with another mountain bike specialist, 2008 Olympian Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price), fourth in 49:42.

Making victory all the more remarkable for Evans is the fact that he has twice suspected a puncture on the route.

Halfway during the trial he heard a loud noise and had to stop to check his wheels. On the second occasion he heard another loud noise and thought that a rear spoke had snapped. This was until he realised that his back wheel didn’t have spokes!

“Although I’ve won the national MTB marathon championships three times today was very special because it’s a completely different discipline and few people realise how much work and sacrifice it took,” Evans said afterwards.

Despite making the national time trial a priority in 2010 and putting in heaps of hard work, a week before the race he still wasn’t guaranteed a bike to ride the trial.

“After much persuading and ‘fighting’, Eddy Merckx’s son-in-law personally flew in the frame for me, which they borrowed from Team Quickstep as they were the only team in the world with a frame in my size, dropped it off and flew out.

“Once under way, I was fortunate enough to have the top of the range Sram SRM which proved invaluable to pacing myself for the first 20km of the race, allowing me to save enough energy to really wind up the final 5km.”

There was more success for the MTN-Energade team when Reinhardt Janse van Resnburg was crowned under-23 time trial champion, clocking 49:53, this despite a puncture that cost him close on 40 seconds.

In the women’s 30km time trial there was still more reason for MTN-Energade to shout about as Casandra Slingerland took her third national time trial title, clocking 43:20.


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