To become the first rider to complete a hat trick of victories at the MTN Ride Crater Cruise in Parys could be very tempting for many riders, but Kevin Evans (360Life), the most successful rider in the history of the Crater Cruise, is an exception.
‘Naturally I would not mind winning the MTN Ride Crater Cruise for a third time in a row, but on Saturday (8 September) we have ‘bigger fish to fry’.
“David George, my teammate, has a realistic chance of winning the MTN series overall if he could manage to finish first or second. My role, therefore, will be to support David to achieve the result he needs.
“Winning the MTN series overall is more important than winning just a race, especially since I am the defending champion.
“If David wins it will be like keeping the title in the ‘family’,” said Evans who won the MTN Ride Crater Cruise in 2009 and 2010 and was second in 2007 and 2008.
Evans was also jointly first with four other riders in 2005.
What is the secret to win the MTN Ride Crater Cruise?
“It is actually quite a tricky race that is usually decided during the last 30 kilometers.
“This means that a rider who is serious about winning, should be careful not to get carried away during the first half of the race and ride too hard. His legs could fail towards the end when the serious racing starts.
“Having said that, it also does not mean that you can just sit back and let the other riders do the racing. If you do this, you can miss out on the deciding breakaway.
“In short, therefore, the MTN Ride Crater Cruise boils down to a fine balancing act in which you have to be wide awake all the time, biding your time, to be in a position to make it count when it matters.”
Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka) and Max Knox (Ghost) are the only other riders who could still win the MTN series overall.
The MTN Ride Crater Cruise is definitely one of the most important mountain-bike events as far as prize money is concerned.
In a period of eight years the prize money has more than doubled. In 2004, during the inaugural Ride Crater Cruise, it was R100 000 and now it is R250 000.