European stars Team Bulls claimed a maiden victory at the 3rd Nashua Grape Escape after dominating the field for most of the three-day stage race. Tim Böhme took home the gold medal, with teammate Urs Huber claiming second place. Third place went to up-and-coming local star James Reid of Team Trek/Privateer.
Defending champion Christoph Sauser took first place on a challenging Stage 3, beating Phil Buys by eight seconds. It wasn’t enough to make up for a disappointing run of bad luck after he gave up the lead a few hundred meters from the finish on Stage 1 when he took a wrong turn, and then experiencing technical problems on Stage 2.
Mountain biking champions Thomas Dietsch (38) from France and Tim Böhme (30) from Germany, who will be taking part in this year’s Absa Cape Epic as Team Bulls 2, are amongst the favourites to walk away with top honours at this year’s event. The legendary mountain bike stage race will see cyclists from all over the world complete 698 km’s over eight days. The prologue kicks off at Meerendal Wine Estate on Sunday, 17 March and the race ends on Sunday, 24 March at its traditional Lourensford Wine Estate finish.
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.
A MANAGER’S TALE
It is a quarter to five in the morning and the race village of the 2011 ABSA Cape Epic is beginning to stir for another tough day in the world’s premier MTB stage race. While the majority of the field is being accommodated in the tented village, many of the professional riders are staying in the adjacent camper van area and this where the defending champions, Team Bulls are readying themselves for the days action.
Team Bulls have two teams entered in the race along with their support staff, who are busy preparing the rider’s food on only a few hours sleep after working late into the previous evening to make sure that everything is in order.
Karl Platt (Team Bulls) proved on Saturday by winning the MTN Sabie ultra-marathon that patience is a virtue.
Despite the South African and Namibian riders trying their utmost to put him under pressure the German rider refused to be intimidated. He just kept on riding at his own pace biding his time for the right moment to dish out his own punishment.
A dress rehearsal for the Absa Cape Epic is what Saturday’s (26 February) MTN Sabie ultra-marathon might just boil down to.
Germany’s Karl Platt (Team Bulls) who has perfected winning the Epic into a fine art has, indicated that he will race at the MTN Sabie.