Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
Stage Winners karl Platt(Germany) and Urs Huber(Switzerland) of Bulls celebrate during Stage 3 of the 2013 Cape Epic
Last year's runners-up target victory this year
Four-time Cape Epic winner Karl Platt and former Swiss mountain bike champion Urs Huber of the Bulls Team will participate together in this year's Cape Epic in late March. The demanding race, now in its 11th year, will kick off with the prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate on Sunday, March 23 and finish eight days later on Sunday, March 30 at the Lourensford Wine Estate.
Platt, 36, is one of only nine riders to have completed all 10 races. He stood on the podium in eight of these, and won four times - sharing the limelight with Christoph Sauser as the two most successful riders at the race. The German credits three out of four of those victories to the legendary partnership he had with fellow German Stephan Sahm. Even with such big shoes to fill, his new teammate Urs Huber is more than up to the task. Platt has also won the TransAlp six times and was the German marathon champion in 2008.
Huber, 28, won the bronze medal in the marathon world championships in Italy in 2008, the European Championships in Germany in 2008 and the Swiss Championships in 2009 and 2012. He is also a three-time winner of the Grand Raid (2008, 2011 and 2013). He won the iXS Swiss Bike Classic three times (2007 to 2009) and is a two-time winner of the Crocodile Trophy in Australia in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, he was the Swiss marathon champion and TransAlp winner in the same year. This will be his fifth Cape Epic, of which he completed four since he broke his arm in 2011.
"I think we had a very successful partnership last year and look forward to this year's Cape Epic," said Platt. "It's all about the team. I can't remember if we have any weaknesses, and if we do, I'm not going to tell."
Huber noted that their second place last year was a sign that they are a good time. "After our first experience together, we now know that we can be a very strong team. Of course it's our goal to win the overall! But this is the Cape Epic - you can't plan that. We have to be focused and concentrate for the duration of the week. And of course make no mistakes."
Both riders trained separately until January, when they joined up their efforts. "We've been training together to get used to each other and compare our levels of fitness. This is very important as last year, I only got in shape the week before the Cape Epic and it was a bit too close. This time around I had a long rest and built up very carefully," said Platt.
Huber said, "Our strength is that we’re pretty equal and we don’t have any weaknesses."
Platt is looking forward to this year's race. "I have so many nice memories of this race - too many to mention. We're going to go 'vollekanonne'" while Huber fondly recalled his first Cape Epic stage win at last year's race.