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Knox wins Clarens round of South African marathon series

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Yolandi du Toit

Yolandi du Toit
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Max Knox in the final straight

Max Knox in the final straight
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Locals look on as marathoners pass

Locals look on as marathoners pass
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Max Knox is elated with his win in Clarens

Max Knox is elated with his win in Clarens
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Hennie Scheepers enjoys the downhill

Hennie Scheepers enjoys the downhill
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Handbuilt singletrack was the signature of the 2012 Clarens race

Handbuilt singletrack was the signature of the 2012 Clarens race
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Charles Keey grinds up the slick rock mountain

Charles Keey grinds up the slick rock mountain
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nico Bell leads Max Knox

Nico Bell leads Max Knox
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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An Exhausted Ben Melt Swanepoel at the finish

An Exhausted Ben Melt Swanepoel at the finish
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Max Knox makes his move

Max Knox makes his move
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Max Knox on his way to a win in Clarens

Max Knox on his way to a win in Clarens
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Max Knox alone in the lead

Max Knox alone in the lead
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Tire tracks

Tire tracks
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Overall podium: Nico Bell, 2nd; Max Knox, 1st; Ben Melt Swanepoel, 3rd

Overall podium: Nico Bell, 2nd; Max Knox, 1st; Ben Melt Swanepoel, 3rd
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The leaders hed to the first big climb

The leaders hed to the first big climb
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The early lead group with Max Knox, and Ben Melt Swanepoel setting the pace

The early lead group with Max Knox, and Ben Melt Swanepoel setting the pace
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Scenic surroundings as the top guns go by

Scenic surroundings as the top guns go by
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Incredible scenery en route

Incredible scenery en route
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Nico Bell makes his way through some cattle

Nico Bell makes his way through some cattle
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Ben Melt Swanepoel in action

Ben Melt Swanepoel in action
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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A local farm worker looks on as the leaders pass by

A local farm worker looks on as the leaders pass by
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)

Patience is a virtue. Max Knox proved this to be true when on Saturday he won the MTN Clarens marathon in emphatic style. Knox's win was text book.

He bided his time waiting for the opportune moment to attack. Once the riders got to the first serious climb there was no stopping Knox. He immediately upped the pace causing also sorts pandemonium in the lead group as one rider after the other started to drop off.

By the time he got to the top, he was out in front on his own. From then on out, Knox managed to increase his lead with each pedal stroke.

He eventually won in four hours 47 minutes and four seconds. Nico Bell (Westvaal Columbia) was second in 4:54:27; Ben-Melt Swanepoel third in 4:55:58; Charles Keey (Blend Properties) fourth in 5:00:24 and Matthys Beukes fifth in 5:04:27.

Knox ensured with this victory that he is now the overall leader in the MTN National MTB Series. Until MTN Clarens, the big question on everyone's lips was why Knox has not won one a race in the MTN Series.

Knox just smiled when asked about his lack of victories and then said, "Just watch this space. I am doing things slightly different than in the past."

Swanepoel said that he and Bell were involved in a ding dong battle for the second place. "The moment Max attacked, it was every man for himself. Twice in the race, I managed to get really close to Nico, but first a small crash and then an inadequate amount of horsepower jeopardised my attempts to regain contact."

Swanepoel has no hesitation in saying that the MTN Clarens marathon is one of the toughest mountain bike challenges on the local calender.

"We were tested over everything from long rock sections, over grassy fields, long drags, steep climbs and very technical singletrack. It’s been a while since my arms have been as tender as my legs after a race."

Theresa Ralph (Biogen/Britehous) won the MTN women's marathon in 3:21:03. Yolandi du Toit (Bizhub) was second in 3:38:12 and Karien van Jaarsveld (MTN-Qhubeka) third in 3:45:10.

In what should be no surprise, Lourens Luus (Valencia) won the men's shorter marathon race. His winning time was 3:03:55. Jan Withaar finished second in 3:14:24 with Dion Froneman third in 3:17:08.

Brief Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Knox4:47:04
2Nico Bell (Westvaal Columbia)0:07:23
3Ben-Melt Swanepoel0:08:54
4Charles Keey (Blend Properties)0:13:20
5Matthys Beukes0:17:23

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Theresa Ralph (Biogen/Britehous)3:21:03
2Yolandi du Toit (Bizhub)0:17:09
3Karien van Jaarsveld (MTN-Qhubeka)0:24:07

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