Johannesburg - Prolific mountain biker Karl Platt says he hopes his luck will change for the better when he takes part in the 2014 Cape Epic mountain bike race in the Western Cape.
“This year we were not that lucky - the race was very hard and challenging,” said Platt on Wednesday, during the Johannesburg launch of the race which would take place from March 23 - 30 next year.
“Urs Huber and I formed a great partnership but things did not go our way. We were a bit unlucky at times, but we’re coming back next year and we want to win the race.”
Earlier this year, Platt and Huber, racing as the premier Bulls team, took the lead in the early stages of the race, but were eventually outsmarted by Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy, who were crowned 2013 champions.
Platt and Huber finished second in a total time of 29 hours, 47 minutes and 55.3 seconds (29:47:55.3).
Over the years, the two-rider team race had attracted over 1200 local and international professional cyclists as well as thousands of amateur riders.
The route for the 11th edition, which took 18 months to design, would take riders through eight days of racing, featuring a prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate, in Durbanville, and cover 14850 metres of climbing over a total of 718 kilometres.
The Bulls rider who had participated in all the Cape Epic’s since its inception in 2004, had claimed four wins in the event, and said he looked forward to the challenge ahead.
“The new route is quite cool because there are old and new towns that we are going to visit,” Platt said.
“Cycling in South Africa has changed so much and I look forward to the new surprises. I can’t wait to see the new routes and the single tracks.”
He said it was hard to predict how they would perform on each of the seven stages but believed the 110km fifth stage, from Greyton to Elgin, would be challenging.
“The fifth stage will be very interesting because we would have covered some kilometres before and every one will be a little tired.
“The stage has lots of climbing, rough terrain and the last 20kms are sharp up and downs, so it will be really tough.”
Race Director and founder Kevin Vermaak said the race had grown bigger over the years and aimed to continue its growth in the years to come.
“We have created a culture of innovation with this race,” Vermaak said.
“Each year, we want to keep setting the benchmark so we can continue to grow in the sport of mountain biking.
“The riders will certainly enjoy the tough new route.”