As action continues at the ongoing cape Epic race in South Africa, four-time winner, Karl Platt of Germany and his Swiss partner Urs Huber on Monday won the first stage of the annual mountain bike race.
Platt and Huber, along with Ilias Periklis of Greece and Portugal’s Tiago Ferreira of the Dolomiti Superbike team, went out hard from the start of the rugged and rocky stage that included 2,300 metres of climbing. The group of four riders held the lead for most of the stage’s 108 kilometres.
Platt, together with Huber maintained their advantage to secure the stage win in a time of 4 hours, 32 minutes and 12.4 seconds.
Dolomiti Superbike made a wrong turn towards the end which allowed Topeak Ergon Racing’s Alban Lakata of Austria and Czech Republic’s Kristian Hynek to take second place, 38.5 seconds behind. Periklis and Ferreira finished third, 1 minute, 43.8 seconds behind the leaders.
According to SuperSport, Platt is just one win away from equaling Sauser’s record and has been in excellent form in recent races. Huber is yet to win the race but is a power rider who is bound to end up on the top step of the podium one day.
In the women’s race, South Africa’s Robyn de Groot Robyn and her Ascendi’s team mate Jennie Stenerhag of Sweden overtook the Spur specialized team of Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhas five kilometres from the finish to win the stage in 5 hours, 22 minutes, 18 seconds.
Three South African combinations will be scrapping for the Absa African special jersey but will also be eyeing the overall podium. Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock (USN Purefit), Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck (NAD Pro MTB) and James Reid and Gert Heyns (Spur) all have the ability to rattle the European domination of the event.