Last year’s winners of the Absa Cape Epic and one of the world’s best mountain biking teams, Karl Platt (33) and Stefan Sahm (34), are back to defend their title at this year’s event which starts in Tokai on Sunday and ends on 3 April.
The German Bulls team is ready to take on the challenging 707 kilometres with approximately 14 550m of climbing, which again ends at its traditional Lourensford Wine Estate.
Platt and Sahm achieved a hat-trick, winning the Absa Cape Epic in 2010, 2009 and 2007, with Platt also winning the inaugural 2004 race with his previous partner Mannie Heymans. Says Platt: ÔÇ£I’ve participated in the Absa Cape Epic since its inception ÔÇô this will be my eighth race. I love this race, the people and the country. It’s an exceptional experience to train in South Africa ÔÇô riding around Chapman’s Peak is beautiful and one needs no further motivation. Also, coming from a very cold Europe, the weather is perfect.ÔÇØ
To Sahm the Absa Cape Epic is a combination of a lot of things. ÔÇ£For me it really is the best race in the world and the highlight in our season. It’s the hardest and cruellest week of cycling throughout the year, but I enjoy every second.ÔÇØ
Platt’s victories speak for themselves ÔÇô six times winner of the TransAlp, winner of the TransRockies, winner of the TransGermany, winner of the Trans Schwarzwald and also German marathon champion. His partner, Sahm, also boasts an impressive list of wins behind his name such as the TransAlp, the TransGermany, the Trans Schwarzwald, the Riva del Garda and Willingen Marathons, and the National Bundesliga. This will be their fourth Absa Cape Epic as a team.
Platt comments that he is never over confident before a race: ÔÇ£Our chances are as good as anybody’s. But we did our homework and are well-prepared. We also have really great equipment ÔÇô so we can’t do more.ÔÇØ Sahm adds jokingly that they are ÔÇ£as confident as winning the lottery. I know that we’re well prepared for racing the Absa Cape Epic and I had a really good training season in winter. But, this is the Cape Epic and it has its own rules. The previous years showed that you have to expect to deal with a lot of problems. By the 3rd of April, we’ll know all about it.ÔÇØ
To the question of why they make such a winning team, Sahm responds: ÔÇ£This is not easy to describe and sometimes we ask ourselves why we race so well together. The key our success is our friendship and our respect of each other’s limits. Contrary to what people think, we don’t train together a lot because we live about 450km apart. In the early season we do some training camps together.ÔÇØ
Their advice to other participants is simple. ÔÇ£Have fun and enjoy! Honestly, that’s my best advice. All participants pay for it. And be a good friend to your partner ÔÇô you can’t cross the finish line on your own ÔÇô that’s a rule!ÔÇØ says Platt. Sahm adds that you must ÔÇ£always think and act as a team. Work hard, stay focused on what you want to achieve and try to have as much fun as possible with cycling! Over the years there have been lots of tips and good advice, but apart from good training before the race, the most important factor is not to change too much. Stick to your normal diet – no fancy stuff – stay relaxed and keep in mind it’s an eight day race!ÔÇØ
This year Team Bulls is an ambassador for the JAG foundation. ÔÇ£We’re very proud that they asked us,ÔÇØ Sahm adds.