German rider Karl Platt earned a record fifth victory at the Absa Cape Epic on Sunday, after he and Swiss partner Urs Huber led from start to finish at the annual eight-day mountainbike race.
The Teams Bulls pairing finished fifth on the final 86km leg from Boschendal to Meerendal Wine Estate, and though they were nearly three minutes behind stage winners Manuel Fumic of Germany and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing), they completed the race more than 13 minutes ahead of their nearest challengers in the general classification.
Platt equalled the record of five victories held by Christoph Sauser, while Huber won the race for the first time in his seventh attempt.
“This is unbelievable. I have no words to say now,” Platt told the race website shortly after crossing the finish line.
“I must be getting better with age. I’ve been waiting a long time for this fifth win, so to actually have it now… I still can’t believe it.”
Another Swiss-German pairing, Nicola Rohrbach and Matthias Pfrommer, took second place overall.
Local riders Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock (USN Purefit) ended sixth, as the first African team to finish the race.
Women’s favourites Ariane Kleinhans of Switzerland and Danish partner Annika Langvad (Spur-Specialized) were edged out by Sport for Good duo Sabine Spitz of Germany and Yana Belomoina of the Ukraine on the day.
They did enough, however, to secure their third straight title, crossing the line nearly 15 minutes clear of Spitz and Belomoina in the general classification.
“This stage was a bit messy. We had a lot of men overtaking us today, but in general the Epic route was really good for the women because we didn’t get bunched with the men,” Kleinhans said.
“To celebrate I’m going to sleep, eat and recover. It’s been super tough.”
Theresa Ralph and Yolandi du Toit (Galileo Risk) were the first South African women’s team home, taking fifth place overall.