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Knox, Stewart win in Canada

South Africans Max Knox and Brandon Stewart of Team DCM won the fourth stage of the BC Bike Race in Canada on Thursday.

The victory moved them from third up to second place in the General Classification with two stages remaining.

Knox and Stewart outsprinted the Team Kona pair of Kris Sneddon (CAN) and Barry Wicks (US) to claim victory on the 60km stage from Earls Cove to Sechelt in the British Columbia region of Canada. The BC Bike Race is regarded as one of the world’s premier mountain bike stage races.

ÔÇ£We took some big risks on the last steep downhill and it paid off. It was good to have a reason to smile because this race has been so hard,ÔÇØ said Knox, who is still nursing injured ribs (both front and rear) and an injured leg after a serious crash on the first stage.

The victory makes Stewart the only South African to have won stages at the Absa Cape Epic, the Transalp and the BC Bike Race. ÔÇ£It’s not something I’ve been aiming for, but it’s nice to have won stages at such prestigious events on different continents,ÔÇØ said Stewart. ÔÇ£We’ve been up against strong opposition and difficult conditions here which makes the win even more satisfying.ÔÇØ

The majority of the BC Bike race is raced on tight, twisty singletrack, which includes multiple sections of North Shore trails, a series of interconnected narrow wooden-plank bridges, which are elevated above the ground. Stage Four was less technical than the preceding stages and included more climbing, which suited Knox and Stewart.

Sneddon and Wicks won all the preceding stages and have built up a 27-minute lead over Stewart and Knox, the only riders to have challenged their supremacy so far. The seven-stage race finishes on Saturday and Knox is conservative in his prediction of how the final two stages will turn out.

ÔÇ£The Kona team are very skilled in this technical stuff and have built up a big lead which we are unlikely to close. But our goal is to try and hold onto our second place overall. I believe the last two stages are a lot more hilly, which suits us. It would be good to try and get another stage win, but my range of movement is still limited and I’m quite sore, so just staying upright will also be nice!ÔÇØ said Knox.