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Evans leads Epic

One of the South African favourites to take top honours at this year’s Absa Cape Epic, Kevin Evans, 31, and Austrian Marathon Champion teammate Alban Lakata (30) of Team MTN/Quebeka showed their mettle by finishing first in Stage One of the world renowned Absa Cape Epic on Sunday.
With only a three minute 26sec gap between the first and second place winners (overall), this year’s event promises to be one of the most exciting to date.

Team MTN/Quebeka crossed the finish line in a time of 4:35.41,7. They were followed by the team of Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander in a time of 4:39.07.9.

In third place were the Rabobank-Giant Off Road team of Emil Lindgren and Fabian Giger in a time of 4:39.56,4, followed by last year’s overall winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm of the Bulls 1 Team (4:40.17,8).

The Fl├╝ckiger brothers, Lukas and Mathias of Trek World Racing, finished fifth (4:40.22,3).

Said Evans : ÔÇ£Normally my first day is not a good one, but obviously we got a few things right today. 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. It’s great riding with him.

“I have so much to learn from him and it’s such a pleasure riding with someone of his caliber.ÔÇØ Lakata adds they were not planning on a stage win for today, but rather a podium finish.

ÔÇ£We achieved a lot today and riding out of Ceres tomorrow with the Leader jerseys will put some pressure on us. At one point I felt really tired but no one noticed as we were controlling the pace. When Kevin had a flat, at first I didn’t notice.

“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.ÔÇØ

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

South Africa’s Burry Stander, Under-23 World Champion as well as the 2008 and 2009 World Cup Champion, says this was not a good day for him. ÔÇ£This was really not my day as I felt ill. It was difficult to hang on to the guys in front. I also had cramps in my legs on the railway line, but luckily a bad day is normally followed by a good one. The field is really close this year, so it’s going to be an exciting race.ÔÇØ

Emil Lindgren and Giger Fabian fortunately had no mechanical problems today. ÔÇ£We took it nice and steady,ÔÇØ says Lindgren. Last year’s winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm decided to conserve their energy for the next seven days as Sahm was feeling a bit weak.