Germany’s four-time ABSA Cape Epic champion, Karl Platt and his Team Bulls squad put on a dominant display to secure both Solo and Team victories on Stage 1 of the 2014 DUTOIT Tankwa Trek mountain bike stage race in South Africa’s Western Cape Province on Friday.
Platt was the first rider to finish the demanding 88km stage, which included 1890 metres of vertical ascent and a crossing the of the Witzenberg mountain range. The 35-year-old German clocked a time of 03 hours 44 minutes 19 seconds, and was just centimetres ahead of his Swiss Cape Epic teammate, Urs Huber, with Waylon Woolcock (Cannondale Blend) a distant third.
Platt and Huber’s dominance in the Solo category upset the rhythm of the Tankwa Trek, which, like most South African stage races, places the greatest emphasis on the two-rider team category. The Team Bulls 1 pair of Tim Bohme (GER) and Simon Stiebjan (GER) claimed the team division victory in a time of 03:46:35. Second place went to South African marathon champion, James Reid and Brendon Davids (Trek Racing) with another South African pair, Darren Lill and Charles Keey (Cannondale Blend), rounding out the podium places.
“Urs and I entered the Solo category because we have proven ourselves as a good team and I wasn’t sure my form was as good at that of Urs and didn’t want to suffer unnecessarily. I felt good today though, but let’s see how my recovery goes for the other stages,” smiled Platt.
“Urs is super strong and my form is around 85-90% and with six weeks to the Cape Epic, I’m feeling confident. I really had a lot of fun today and that’s a good sign. The course was amazing. Such variety, but so enjoyable and beautiful,” added Platt.
In the women’s division, Swiss marathon champion Ariane Kleinhans and Cherise Stander (Team RE:CM) secured the stage win in a time of 04:41:05. Second and third places went to Team Sasol’s Ischen Stopforth and Yolande de Villiers with Hanlie Booyens and Mariske Strauss (Pragma Orange Monkeys) in third. Just over three minutes separates the top two teams.
Leona Kadir secured victory in the women’s Solo division, while Andrew Payne and Bianca Caroulis captured the Mixed category stage win.
Saturday’s Stage 2 takes the riders on a 91km haul through the Ceres Valley, with a total of 2900 metres of vertical ascent. A formidable feature of the stage is the Merino Monster, a 25km ascent with the last 8km pitched at an average gradient of 12%, sure to have an impact on the final stage result and possibly the overall standings too.
DUTOIT Tankwa Trek 2014
Stage 1 & Overall
1 Team Bulls – Tim Bohme (GER) / Simon Stiebjahn (GER) 03hr46min35sec
2 Trek Racing – James Reid (RSA) / Brendon Davids (RSA) 03:50:57
3 Cannondale Blend – Darren Lill (RSA) / Charles Keey (RSA) 03:50:57
4 Team Bulls 1 – Stefan Sahm (GER) / Thomas Dietche (FRA) 03:53:16
5 Fairview Elite – Adriaan Louw (RSA) / Konny Looser (BEL) 03:56:23
1 Karl Platt (GER) Team Bulls 03:44:19
2 Urs Huber (SUI) Team Bulls 03:44:19
3 Waylon Woolcock (RSA) Cannondale Blend 03:53:35
4 Oliver Munnik (RSA) 04:07:37
5 Jurgens Uys (RSA) 04:14:52.
1 RE:CM – Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) / Cherise Stander (RSA) 04:41:05
2 Sasol Racing – Ischen Stopforth (RSA) / Yolande de Villiers (RSA) 04:44:14
3 Pragma Orange Monkeys – Hanlie Booyens (RSA) / Mariske Strauss (RSA) 4:53:24
4 Sasol Racing 2 – Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) / Yolandi du Toit (RSA) 04:59:16
5 Dawn Wing/Momsen – Ann Harrison (RSA) / Marleen Lourens (RSA) 05:21:38
1 Leona Kadir (ENG) 05:31:53
2 Ingrid Serritslev (RSA) 05:36:45
3 Colleen Jacobs (RSA) 06:02:26
4 Nina Hind (RSA) 06:51:42
5 Liza Mason (RSA) 07:41:15
1 John O’ Connor Cycles – Andrew Payne (RSA) / Bianca Caroulis (RSA) 05:12:53
2 CWC-Fondriest – Fourie Kotze (RSA) / Leana de Jager (RSA) 05:18:18
3 Unknown Territory – Stefan Oberholzer (RSA) / Carla Oberholzer 05:34:07
4 Haven Freeborne Cycles – Amanda Brooks (RSA) / Darren Ksolocki (RSA) 05:35:45
5 Adventure Cycles – Ellane van Wyk (RSA) / Pieter van Wyk (RSA) 05:36:48