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The opening round of the 2011 MTN South African national marathon series will be without the man who has dominated the series during the past seven years. Kevin Evans (360 Life) will miss up to the first three races of the series following an appendectomy.
Saturday, January 15 will be the first time that Evans does not take part in the Attakwas marathon from Oudtshoorn to Mosselbay. However, he will be there to support his 360 Life teammate, David George.
"If I am quite honest, I have to admit that not riding the Attakwas is definitely not the end of the world. It is such a tough race!" said Evans who was last year's winner.
Evans hopes to participate in the Barberton marathon on January 29.
"But I won't go out with all guns blazing. I will just ride to see if I can be of some help to David during the race," said Evans. "In all probability I will also miss the next race of the MTN series because we will then be racing the Tour of South Africa. If you miss three races of the MTN series, it will take an incredible effort to win overall."
Despite his bad luck, Evans is far from being despondent. "In a way this is a blessing in disguise. I now have the opportunity to focus only on being at my best during the Cape Epic and the South African marathon championship, instead of having to compete weekend after weekend.
"I just feel sorry for David because, when I start racing again, I will not only have fresh legs, but I will also be much stronger because of the time I now have to do some good basic training. David might have to hang onto my pockets to keep up with me."
Listening to Evans' account of his appendix problems during December, it becomes clear that he was lucky not to have ended up in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
The first doctor consulted by Evans did not realize that it was an appendix problem. Evans, therefore, kept on training and going for physiotherapy while his ailment just continued to get worse.
"The funny thing was that the pain was not consistent. Sometimes I thought it was a groin injury, other times it felt like something else, but when the pain became unbearable, I went for a second medical opinion.
"Luckily the second doctor immediately realized that my appendix had perforated and he sent me straight into theatre to have the appendix removed."