Great nature. Epic win.
Karl Platt wins epic for the 5th time
654 km through the African wilderness. Historic victory at the Cape.
Legendary Cape Epic in South Africa is considered the Tour de France for mountain bikers. Karl Platt won this year, for a record fifth time. The uvex athlete was victorious with his Swiss teammate Urs Huber, Team Bulls. It was Huber’s first Cape Epic victory. Racing strongly all week, they built up a lead of 15 minutes. Celebrating their win, a happy Karl said, “This year everything was perfect. We started strong and never let up. To get used to the terrain we trained and raced in South Africa. And it paid off.”
We started strong and never let up ...
Cape Town to wine wonderland
Cape Epic starts in Cape Town and the route changes every year. Two riders, competing as a team, try to reach the finish together. Sometimes there are punctures. The winner is decided by adding the times of all the stages together. 2016 Cape Epic covered 654km with 15,000m of climbing. A prologue was followed by seven daily stages. 110 km of singletrack across the South African wilderness, trails in Stellenbosch and Boschendal, with the finish line in the famous wine growing region of the Western Cape.
Triumph through experience
Karl Platt and Urs Huber, Team Bulls won Cape Epic in 28 hours 13 minutes. They also won the prologue and two further stages. For uvex rider Karl Platt it was his fifth victory at Cape Epic. A record he now shares with Swiss rider Christoph Sauser. The happy winner said, “I wanted to be at the top again this year. Over the last few years I was always in shape and had the legs to win, but something always got in the way. This year we used all our experience to tip the balance in our favour.”
Equipment for top performance
Karl Platt and Urs Huber wore aero road helmets for the prologue, a 26 km timetrial, in Cape Town. “Partly to challenge the other riders, and show them we are serious,” laughs Karl. “We also had a headwind. Our uvex EDAero aerodynamic helmets saved us a few precious watts.” They wore eyewear with uvex variomatic technology to protect them from sun, dust and wind. “Every morning we set off in flat light and need a lightly tinted lens. Later, riding under bright African sun – the lens tint darkened automatically.”
Karl Platt on mind, body and ambition
How do you recover between stages?
Every day follows a fixed sequence. At the finish I give a few interviews, and often have to go to doping control. Then I eat. We have a chef who always prepares something nice. After I eat I take a nap for about 1.5 hours. Later a physio gives me a massage. Then, it’s time for bed... and after breakfast the next morning I’m back in the saddle.
I think this ambition runs deep in me ...
What drives you to always give your best?
As soon as you fix a start number to your handlebar you want to win. When you’ve won once, you want it again and again. I think this ambition runs deep in me. I take pleasure in learning from my mistakes – so that every year I become a little better.
How often do you notice your head pushes, yet your body resists?
This happens again and again. Sometimes you have to accept it and say to yourself: okay today it’s just not working. These small setbacks drive me to train even more intensively.
We aren’t machines, able to always follow the same set of instructions ...
Is there a danger of asking too much from your body?
The most important thing is to have fun. At times in my career I have been too tense. I wanted to get 100% from myself. To do everything right. But, that’s not realistic. Of course, you need a plan. But, sometimes you also need to deviate from the plan. We aren’t machines, able to always follow the same set of instructions.
10 years at the top of your sport: when will you sit back and relax?
That wouldn’t be fun. I feel energised riding my bike. It’s not all about racing. It’s a lifestyle, one that I always want to have.