The race started at a quite a high tempo with swollen groups of riders keeping the pace up. José Hermida and Rudi Van Houts (Multivan Merida) had a puncture quite early in the race, which killed their chances of a podium finish. Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Burry Stander – SONGO) attacked quite hard today and the only riders that could follow were Karl Platt and Urs Huber of the Bulls. Sauser and Kulhavy eventually broke free and were in the lead by 2 minutes and 45 seconds when they took a wrong turn and lost some time. Platt won his fourteenth Absa Cape Epic stage.
The temperature during stage 2 was ideal and not as hot as during stage 1. It was less sandy and a fast rolling stage with exciting racing. The course was particularly rugged and there were two major casualties in the pro-field – the first being the yellow zebra leader jersey and the second José Hermida picking up a five-inch nail. He had to repair it to get him to the next tech zone for a wheel change. This cost the team over 11 minutes at the end of the day. Riding at the front were Karl Platt and Urs Huber as well as Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser, until Kulhavy broke his chain. They lost a few minutes repairing the chain and in the process broke the chain tool. With a bit of improvisation, they managed to get it back together again, but lost 9 minutes in the process.
Swiss mountain bike champion Urs Huber (27) will team up with Karl Platt as the Bulls team for the first time at this year’s Absa Cape Epic. The demanding race, now in its tenth year, will kick off with a prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate on Sunday, 17 March and end eight days later (Sunday, 24 March) at its long-established Lourensford Wine Estate finish.
The six Team Bulls riders taking part are Karl Platt, four times winner of the ABSA Cape Epic, and seven times winner of the Trans Alps; Stefen Sahm, three times winner of the ABSA Cape Epic with Platt; Urs Huber, Platt’s partner for the ABSA Cape Epic 2013; Thomas Dietsch, the reigning French Champion and World Cup winner in 2007; Tim Böhme, Diestsch’s partner for the ABSA Cape Epic 2013, bronze medallist in the 2011 European Championships and fourth the same year in the World Champs; Simon Stiebjahn, Stefen Sahm’s partner for the ABSA Cape Epic 2013 and reigning European U23 Champion. All six Team Bulls riders will also be in action at the 3rd Nashua Grape Escape, set to take place in the Boland from 28 February to 2 March 2013.
Europe’s top mountain bikers will be out for revenge at the UCI sanctioned MTN Sabie ultra-marathon on Saturday (23 February).
Last year’s race turned out to be an unofficial test between the top riders from South Africa and some of Europe’s best riders.
The local riders eventually dominated, with Kevin Evans taking the win. Max Knox finished second and David George was third.
Winner of the Absa Cape Epic in 2010, 2009, 2007 (with Stefan Sahm) and 2004 (with Mannie Heymans) and one of the world’s most prolific mountain bikers, Karl Platt (34), will return for the 10th edition of the race, which takes place from 17 to 24 March this year. The German Bulls rider is ready to take on the challenging 698km and 15 650m of climbing, from Citrusdal to Lourensford Wine Estate.
The Men’s category of Stage 2 of this year’s Absa Cape Epic was won in a sprint finish by the Bulls 1 team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm. They were closely followed by Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking, with winners of the previous two days Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized in third place.
After dominating the men’s team field on all three days of the 2012 Columbia Grape Escape, the Team Songo-Specialized duo of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser claimed a resounding victory today. Second place went to the Team Bulls duo of Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt, while the other Team Bulls duo of Tim Böhme and Thomas Dietsch took third. Below is a roundup from stage 2 and 3.