Adidas Absa Cape Epic 2010: Winners Of First Stage

Approximately 1200 mountain bikers competed in the 2010 Absa Cape Epic. Kevin Evans and Alban Lakata claimed the win in stage one of the competition, which was held just outside of Wellington.

Kevin Evans and Alban Lakata.  Photo: Nick Muzik/SPORTZPICS sportzpics.netFacing some of the toughest competition in the world, mountain bikers Kevin Evans and Alban Lakata win the first stage of the 2010 Absa Cape Epic at the Diemersfontein wine estate, just outside of Wellington.

Steep climbs on dirt tracks were followed by smooth tar descents with tight turns. The riders had to constantly stay alert. Next up, a flat ride at the base of a 5km climb, which led out into a secluded mountainscape.  Finally rocky paths in the valley turn into the most dreaded strech– a 7.8km section over the iron sleepers and sharp stones of a railway line.

Of the MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon team, Kevin Evans and his teammate Alban Lakata showed what they are made of by finishing the first in stage one, with only a 3 minute and 26 overall lead.

Team MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon crossed the finish line of Stage One in a time of 4:35.41,7. They were followed by the Songo-Specialized by DCM team of Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander in a time of 4:39.07.9. 

Kevin Evans comments on the experience:

"It was a roller coaster ride, and I even had a puncture, but we kept it together with Alban saying it’s never over until it’s over. We chased the leading riders and were all riding together again before we knew it. Alban said we should keep it steady, but we really put the hammer down on the railway tracks like a steam train."

Evans' teammate Alban describes the potentially devasting situation, which could have cost them the win.

“When Kevin had a flat, at first I didn’t notice," said Alban. "The helicopter was above us at that point and I didn’t hear him call out. When I turned around to see where he was, he was already on his way to join me.”

Evans reckons Alban Lakata is only going to get stronger with each day “I just hope I can keep up with him.”

To fix his tire, Evans even had to use a Mule Bar to seal the tube.  Despite the setback, the team quickly made their way to the front again.

The Wheeler team is a brand new pairing this year. and impressively ranked 21st overall after Stage One. However, team member Shan Wilson had a very bad crash 50 kilometres into the race.

“When I saw Shan crash, I thought this was it; there goes the Epic. Shan really looked terrible with a bruised chest, a bleeding chin and scraped knees.” described his teamate McLean.

But as a fighter, Wilson kept on racing and the team carried on, managing impressively to complete the stage 25 minutes ahead of their competitors in the Masters Category.

“25 minutes might seem like a comfortable gap, but with seven stages to go anything can still happen. We’re just very happy that we survived the stage and that we could carry on after my crash,” says Wilson.

Commenting on Kevin Evans, who crossed the finish line first overall as part of the MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon team, Wilson says that he is so impressed with Evans.

“He has really developed over the years, and I’m very proud of him as in his younger years he used to be one of my protégées. To see him now competing at such a top level is wonderful – what an inspiration! He has truly become a worthy South African idol.”

Stage one of the 2010 Absa Cape Epic presented by Adidas certainly lived up to its reputation as an exciting race, especially with champions Kevin Evans and Alban Lakata!

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