The Commissaires Panel said in a statement that a protest had been made to the race office: “… it was stated that a member of team 13 (Kevin Evans) deviated from the course (took a shortcut) and in doing so gained an unfair advantage over other riders.

“Review of Go-Pro camera footage from the rider immediately behind the rider in question, as well as footage from team 13’s own Go-Pro (attached to the bicycle of the accused rider) confirms that the incident occurred, and that an unfair advantage was gained.”

Evans and Knox were apparently planning to appeal the sanction, but if it stands it means they would be fifth in the race for the distinctive red jersey and nearly 50 minutes behind. With only three stages to go, this would put them out of the race.

Scott Factory Racing’s Matthys Beukes and Gert Heyns inherited the category lead after FedGroup Itec were penalised. Their overall time is 19:51.09,2, with Erik Kleinhans and Nico Bell (RECM) just five minutes back.

The top all-South African team in the women’s category remains sixth-placed Yolande de Villiers and Ischen Stopforth (SasolRacing), but best local bet for a podium is third-placed Theresa Ralph, riding with Swede Jennie Stenerhag.

Thursday also saw local Definitive Bikes pairing Shan Wilson and Adrian Enthoven’s chances of winning the Master’s category suffer a setback when they were finally overhauled by Dutchman Bart Brentjens and Brazil’s Abraao Azevedo (BETCH.nl Superior Meerendal). The foreigners won the stage in 4:04.32,0 - nearly eight minutes ahead of the South Africans on the day - and are now nearly four minutes ahead overall.

South African television personality and much-decorated rider Andre Mclean continued to dominate the Grand Masters category with Austrian teammate Heinz Zoerweg (CycleLab Toyota) and are now nearly an hour ahead of Doug Brown and Switzerland’s Barti Bucher (Meerendal Songo Specialized 4).

South Africa’s hopes of a win in the mixed category were dashed by the withdrawal Thursday with breathing problems of Cherise Stander, riding with Theo Blignaut for RECM Mixed, but Cape Town’s Nizaam Essa and his Austrian partner Christina Kollman had moved up to third by the end of Thursday’s stage. Stander and Blignaut had been lying second.

Update (28 March 2014) - From the Absa Cape Epic


An appeal by Kevin Evans and Max Knox (FedGroup Itec) against their one-hour penalty for taking an illegal shortcut in the Absa Cape Epic failed Thursdaynight.

The penalty effectively ended their pursuit of the red Africa jersey - for the first all-African team to finish - and they appeared to be taking it easy on Friday’s stage five.

Other riders complained after Evans apparently took a short cut across an uphill switchback on stage four.

The Commissaires Panel said in a statement that a protest had been made to the race office: “… it was stated that a member of team 13 (Kevin Evans) deviated from the course (took a shortcut) and in doing so gained an unfair advantage over other riders.

“Review of Go-Pro camera footage from the rider immediately behind the rider in question, as well as footage from team 13’s own Go-Pro (attached to the bicycle of the accused rider) confirms that the incident occurred, and that an unfair advantage was gained.”

Video footage of the incident