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David George (front) and Kevin Evans of Nedbank 360Life push the pace up a climb as they break clear of their rivals on their way to winning Stage 1
Organisers feel shock, disappointment and anger at EPO positive
George and his teammate Kevin Evans won four individual stages en route to the overall victory in the two-rider team category last month, netting an extra haul of R100,000 (US $12,500) for winning the difficult the stage 2 "queen" stage, and a total of R125,000 ($15,625) for the race..
George tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test on August 29, the news of which was only announced on Monday, November 6.
"When I heard the news I had the same feeling as if I'd just been told a family member had died," said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Events, the organisers of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek.
"Utter shock followed by disappointment and then anger. As organisers of a number of high profile events, we do not condone doping or any form of cheating and are pleased to see success in the fight against this from the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport.
"We will be guided by Cycling South Africa in terms of the protocol in a case such as this, but are obviously preparing to review all results in the open men's division at this year's event.
"Once the official process has been completed, we will announce the changes to the results and reallocation of prizemoney," said Rademeyer.
George and Evans won the prologue and stage 2 over Matthys Beukes and Ben Swanepoel, and stage 1 and 6 over Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck. Bell and Combrinck were second overall to the pair.
Despite the tarnish George's doping has put on the sport, the organisers said the sponsors are still supportive of the race, and are committed to continuing.
"This has been a blow to the cycling industry and extremely unfortunate to the reputation of cycling. However, Bridge's commitment as the main sponsor, as well as to the race communities, continues with no doubt. The Cape Pioneer Trek has grown significantly this year and we're looking forward to being part of this amazing mountain bike tour for the next few years to come," said Johan van Wyk, Head of Marketing for Bridge.