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Stewart cleared to race

Brandon Stewart will be able to defend his national elite men's cross country title

Brandon Stewart will be able to defend his national elite men's cross country title (Image credit: Gary Perkin)

National champion Brandown Stewart has been cleared to race by the South Africa Mountain Bike (SA-MTB), a division of Cycling South Africa, following an incident between Stewart and Kevin Evans.

Stewart, the South African national cross-country champion and Evans, the South African national marathon champion, became involved in a heated on-the-bike incident during the MTN National Marathon Series race in Barberton last month.

As a result, Evans, who races for the MTN Energade team, crashed during the race and then later lodged a complaint against Stewart, who races for the DCM Chrome team.

Stewart finished the race third with Evans in fourth. Stewart was subsequently disqualified from the race results and risked being given a lengthy suspension for bringing the sport into disrepute following post race comments made to media about the incident.

However, SA-MTB, under the chairmanship of Mike Bradley, made a decision calling for a public apology from Stewart and suspending his three-month sentence. Stewart can continue racing on a probationary status for the next three months, which will enable him to compete in, among other events, the South African cross-country championships and the Cape Epic stage race.

"What happened with Kevin was a racing incident which is usually the kind of thing that gets left behind once the race is over," said Stewart. "I reacted aggressively to a dangerous move made by Kevin. However, I now realise that it wasn't the right thing to do and apologise to Kevin and everyone else involved for my behaviour both during the race and afterwards."

Evans and Stewart were teammates in 2007, pairing up to win the high profile Subaru Sani2C stage race and then finishing seventh overall at that year's Cape Epic. They also became the first South Africans ever to win a stage at the TransAlp, Europe's most prestigious mountain bike stage race, where they finished third overall.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.