Team Bulls cross a river together during stage 3 of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Arabella Wines in Robertson to The Oaks Estate in Greyton, South Africa on the 26 March 2014 Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Johannesburg – Pre-race favourite Karl Platt of Germany pulled out of the Absa Cape Epic soon after the start of stage four, suffering from a badly injured knee.

Platt, riding as Team Bulls with Swiss Urs Huber, had damaged his knee during a fall on Tuesday’s stage two. In spite of the crash, he And Huber finished the stage in first place in the overall standings.

On Wednesday’s stage three, it became evident that Platt was suffering and the pair dropped nearly 10 minutes behind the leaders.

He said Wednesday night he would carry on but withdrew soon after the start at Greyton Thursday morning.

The eight-day stage race ends on Sunday at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West. – Sapa