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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
See how nearly every bicycle saddle is made
Ever wonder how FSA does it? Take a walk through the factory and find out
Classic Colnago steel frame with gorgeous pantographed Campagnolo components
Karl Platt of the Bulls celebrates after winning the 2nd stage during stage 2 of the 2012 Cape Epic
Four-time winner will partner with Huber
Karl Platt, four-time winner of the Absa Cape Epic, will return for the 10th edition of the 698km mountain bike stage race, which will take place from March 17 to 24. The German is hoping to keep alive his streak of perfect attendance after having finished the first nine editions.
"I've participated in all the Cape Epics since its inception. It has become a unique race over the years and a huge part of my career, but the main thing is that I love to race it!" said Platt. "In the nine years of riding the Cape Epic, I got smarter but not younger. Honestly, I think there are lots of stories I can share. It's a lifetime experience."
Platt won the race in 2004 with Mannie Heymans and in 2007, 2009 and 2010 with Stefan Sahm. He has also been two-time German marathon champion and won the Trans Alp seven times. His other victories include the Trans Rockies, the Trans Germany, the Trans Schwarzwald, the Sabie Classic and the Tour de Langkawi.
This year, he will race the Cape Epic with Crocodile Trophy winner Urs Huber.
Platt said that his experience seems to be "to suffer every year and then forget about it again. There are so many memorable experiences. We'll need to sit down with a nice bottle of wine to get through all of them."
His toughest edition was in 2009, when he dislocated his shoulder on the first day, and then again later in the race. "But they’re all tough! The best part of any race is to win it, of course. And the worst part is getting up at 5:00 am. I’m really not a morning person and very grumpy."
Platt feels that his biggest strength on a mountain bike is that he still manages to have fun under pressure. The one word that sums up the event for him is "vollekanonne". He said that patience and endurance are the to most important ingredients to finishing the race. "Also, train hard and eat less," he said.
Platt does not enjoy the days in between but instead prefers the first and last stages of the Cape Epic. "I don't like the middle because the finish is too far away and you're already tired. I also really look forward to some beer at the finish."
Karl Platt's previous Cape Epic results
2004 - 1st with Mannie Heymans
2005 - 7th with Carsten Bresser
2006 - 3rd with Carsten Bresser
2007 - 1st with Stefan Sahm
2008 - 2nd with Stefan Sahm
2009 - 1st with Stefan Sahm
2010 - 1st with Stefan Sahm
2011 - 3rd with Stefan Sahm
2012 - 6th with Stefan Sahm