Karl Platt and Elisabeth Brandau won the German national marathon titles. In Singen, near Lake Constance, Platt won his first national title ahead of his Bulls Racing teammate Stefan Sahm and of two-time champion Hannes Genze. In the women's competition Brandau earned the title by beating Adelheid Morath and Anja Gradl. Olympic champion Sabine Spitz left the race after 40 km.
Karl Platt (Bulls Racing) waited a long time for a medal in a championship. For many years he was named a co-favorite but the medals always were dedicated to the others. So after crossing the finish line, he was full of euphoric. One minute and 35 seconds later, his team-mate, friend and Cape-Epic companion Stefan Sahm (Bulls Racing) earned the silver medal ahead of Hannes Genze (Alb-Gold).
Platt went with an attack that formed a 30-man lead group after 30km. Eventually, only five men remained and at 70km, while racing through the beautiful Hegau landscape, title defender Jochen Kaess (Alb-Gold) couldn't follow and dropped off the pace. A short time later Moritz Milatz (Multivan-Merida) also dropped. With about 20 kilometers to go, Platt launched the next attack. Sahm hesitated a moment too long and then decided to stay with Alb-Gold biker Hannes Genze to secure the gap of Platt, who at 30 years-old, went on to a solo win.
"It's unbelievable, a dream come true. I felt really well, and before the last attack, I thought, 'okay boy, you are strong, you can do it'," said Platt.
Morath crashed after chasing hard
The women's competition unfolded in a strange way. Some minutes after the licensed women, the male hobby category racers started. Soon the best of them caught the women. When they moved to the front of women's bunch, Elisabeth Brandau (Team Haibike best parts), decided to go with them, while Sabine Spitz (Central Ghost) and all the other women decided to do their own race. So Brandau got benefit of slipstream from the men and soon had 40 seconds' lead.
Spitz followed solo but had no chance to close the gap without slipstream. "This kind of race was frustrating, it was not fair. I lost my motivation and decided to stop," Spitz said after quitting the race while in second position, about 1'30" behind Brandau.
Meanwhile Adelheid Morath (Rothaus-Cube) and Anja Gradl (Central-Ghost) worked together but at one time they had a five-minute deficit on Brandau. After 60 kilometers Gradl was struggling and Morath was chasing alone. With 10 kilometers to go, she only had 30 seconds to Brandau but then Morath crashed badly and lost the chance to get her first national title.
22 year-old Brandau, a former junior road racer for the German national team, was suffering in the last part of the race. When she passed the finish line, she was completely exhausted. "The last 20 kilometers I had to fight really hard. I never expected to win the title. When I went with the men, I was surprised that the other women didn't do the same," Brandau said.
See Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the German National Marathon Championships.