By winning the second stage of the DCM Pioneer Trek yesterday (Tuesday, 18 October), Max Knox (Ghost) and Christoph Sauser (Songo.info) proved that you can’t keep a good team down.
In what is undoubtedly one of the tour’s toughest stages, they managed to ride away from the rest of the riders with a display of almost faultless mountain biking.
Their winning time for the stage (from Calitzdorp to Riversdale) was 5 hours 23 minutes and 25 seconds.
Kevin Evans and David George (Nedbank 360Life) finished second in 5:30:49 and Adrien Niyonshuti and Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) were third in 5:48:50.
Ben-Melt Swanepoel and Nico Bell; (Team Need Sponsor) were fourth, also in 5:48:50.
Knox and Sauser’s stage victory has no influence on the overall standings. They received a 60 minutes time penalty after stage one because Sauser missed a route marker which resulted in him taking a short-cut.
This means that an overall win is no longer possible for them, because they were 86 minutes behind Evans and George before the second stage started.
All that is still at stake for them is their honour.
The deciding moment during stage two occurred when Knox attacked shortly after water point three with Sauser following suit. That was enough. It was game, set and match for the second stage.
Evans and George had the luxury of simply watching them ride away.
The pressure was on Janse van Rensburg and Niyonshuti and Neil MacDonald and Waylon Woolcock (RE:CM) to do the serious chasing, but unfortunately they were not able to do so. They were walking and pushing at that stage, because the terrain was just too rough to ride in some places.
Needless to say that this led to some swearing!
Afterwards Knox said jokingly that the reason why they won the stage was that there were no good looking girls nearby. This allowed Sauser to focus on where he was riding without looking around to appreciate the local beauties.
Evans ‘nearly drowned’ early in the race when they were racing through a river.
While the other riders wisely decided to get off their mountain bikes and walk through the water that reached halfway up their bodies, Evans decided to do it his own way and he raced kamikaze style into the water. He managed to stay on his bike for a moment or two before he and the bike suddenly totally disappeared under water.
He joked afterwards that he did not realize that his sunglasses are under water goggles as well.
Evans also joked about Katot’s route.
My dad, Leon, who is responsible for the layout of the Cape Epic route, is known as ‘Dr Evil’. I think Katot proved today that he is the Afrikaans version of Dr Evil. It was very tough out there and I feel sorry for the back markers.