Kevin Evans, one of South Africa’s most successful cyclists, has announced that he will be hanging up his racing wheels in September 2015. The 2015 Karoo2Coast marathon, which finishes in Knysna, close to Evans’ Plettenberg Bay home, will be the race that concludes an illustrious 12-year professional career.
Evans will celebrate his 37th birthday next month and has decided that it’s time to move on to the next chapter of his life, which will be more focussed around his family and his business, but with cycling still playing a support role.
Evans became a professional cyclist later than most, joining the paid ranks at the age of 24, when mountain biking started to grow into a more mainstream bicycle racing discipline in South Africa. While he’s primarily been a mountain bike racer, Evans has also excelled on the road. In 2008 he finished fifth at the Tour of Egypt, ninth at the Tour of Ireland and 19th at the Tour of Britain.
He also competed for South Africa in 2008 at the road cycling World Championships. And in 2010 he finished second overall at the Giro del Capo, won the King of the Mountains Jersey and, later that year, won the South African Individual Time Trial title. And in 2013, Evans won gold (road race) and silver medals (time trial) at the Maccabi Games in Israel.
The majority of Evans’ success has however been on the mountain bike. He represented his country at the mountain bike World Championships every year consecutively from 2003–2012, mostly in the Marathon (XCM) discipline but in 2003 and 2007 also in the Olympic Cross-country (XCO) discipline. He won the South African XCO Elite title twice and the XCM title four times, which is still a record.
His final national team representation at a marathon World Championships was last year, when South Africa hosted the prestigious global event in Pietermaritzburg. His highest XCM World Champs finish was eighth in 2009.
Evans also won the South African National Marathon Series title for six consecutive years and contested 10 ABSA Cape Epics, finishing on the final overall podium four times with four stage wins.
On Sunday, Evans will begin wrapping up his full-time racing career. He will compete for the Biogen-Volcan team at the Sappi Karkloof Classic, the first significant marathon title that he first won back in 2003. He will then team up with Biogen-Volcan stablemate, Max Knox, in an attempt to defend their title at next week’s popular Nedbank Sani2c three-day stage race.
In July, Evans will contest the Momentum Knynsa Festival road and mountain bike events for the last time as a professional and will conclude his racing career in September at the Crater Cruise marathon, which he’s won five times, the Pennypinchers Dr Evil Classic three-day stage race, which he won in 2014, and then the Pennypinchers Karoo2Coast, which he was won three times.
“This sport has given me so much and I’ve been blessed to have been able make a living out of it and support my family through cycling over the years. My daughter, Ruby, who turns seven this year, has only ever grown up knowing her father as a bike rider, and I am looking forward to being by her side from now on to pay her back for all the time I’ve spent on the road travelling, racing and training. Likewise my wife Kari, who has supported me from before I even became a professional cyclist,” said Evans.
“I have had so much help from so many people over the years, but my most solid support always came from my family. My father, Leon, has run my bicycle shop business for me over the last 12 years, which I intend to return to now with so much knowledge and valuable insight to offer, and to take up the responsibility of running The Bike Shop with as much effort and commitment that I have always put into my cycling.
“I’ve had great sponsors and ridden for fantastic teams over the years. Most importantly, I’ve built up personal relationships with all of them. There are so many and I can never thank them enough for everything they have done, to help me try achieve my personal goals that I set out for myself.
“But the time has come, for me to step down from full-time racing. I will always be involved in the cycling world and industry; it’s my love and my passion. Perhaps I’ll return to racing in a few years time, in the competitive ‘vets’ category, but for now I have some other priorities, small ones, like life, family and business…”