Platt credits Huber for stage win
German cyclist Karl Platt has credited his Swiss partner Urs Huber with dragging him across the finish line on Tuesday to gain the yellow jersey in the second stage of the 10th Absa Cape Epic.
The Bulls team pushed hard all the way and were taken to the limit by a breakaway from defending Epic champion Christoph Sauser and his Olympic gold-medal partner Jaroslav Kulhavy (Burry Stander Songo).
They now lead by six minutes and 23 seconds overall from the Bulls' No 2 team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme.
"We were pushing all day, especially when Kulhavy was in front," Platt said.
"On the last climb, I forgot to take an [energy] gel and my mind was wandering a bit on the descent, but we were so motivated in the last few kilometres and Urs just pulled me along." Platt, who last won the Epic in 2010 with Stefan Sahm, said he was overwhelmed by the victory and by regaining the yellow jersey.
"This race means so much to me. It is what made me as a racer. I had a flashback to the last time and it brought a little tear to my eye," he said.
"But every year it gets harder and harder to win the yellow jersey." The leading group broke from the field early and stayed together as they climbed to the highest point of the race, 1180m above sea level and 1000m above their start point.
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Shortly after hitting the half-way mark, Sauser and Kulhavy made their move and stepped up the pace.
They were immediately chased by Platt and Huber, dropping the rest of the riders.
Then disaster struck as Kulhavy ran ragged on a descent and a chain link snapped. The two riders struggled to repair the chain and when they finally restarted, they were chasing the race once again, just as they had on stage one.
The second Bulls team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme, came in second while Sauser and Kulhavy did superbly well to snatch third place.
The Merida team of Jose Hermida and Rude van Houts, who held the yellow jersey after stage one, had a puncture and mechanical problems of their own early in the race and ended the stage in fifth and are fourth overall.
Darren Lill and Charlie Keey remained the most powerful South African team, finishing sixth on Tuesday.
In the women's race, the BMC Wheeler team of Esther Suss and Jane Nuessli, who held a 32-min overall lead after the first stage, fell out of contention as Suss struggled through the day with a stomach bug.
The stage was won by South Africa's Yolande Speedy and her English team-mate Catherine Williamson (Energas) in 6:51:21.
Stage three on Wednesday is another short run of 96km on a figure of eight course in the Tulbach valley.
STAGE TWO RESULTS:
1 K Platt & U Huber (Bulls 1) 5:35:32,
2 T Dietsch & T Boehme (Bulls 2) +5-48.5,
3 C Sauser & J Kulhavy (Burry Stander Songo) +8-44.1,
4 N Schurter & F Vogel (Scott-Swisspower) +10-16.4,
5 J Hermida & R van Houts (Multivan Merida) +11-28.3
1 K Platt & U Huber 11:05:08 ,
2 T Dietsch & T Boehme +6:23,
3 Sauser & J Kulhavy +8:03,
4 J Hermida & R van Houts +9:05,
5 D Lill & C Keey +21:38
1 Y Speedy & C Williamson (Energas) 6:51:21,
2 H Booyens & I Stopforth (Pragma Volcan Ladies) +27:08,
3 K Kelly & E Greene (www.rrsport.co.nz) +36:32,
4 A Harrison & M Lourens (Dawn Wing) +40:44
1 Y Speedy & C Williamson 14:01:30,
2 H Booyens & I Stopforth (Pragma Volcan Ladies) +36:07,
3 K Kelly & E Greene +1:04:54,
4 A Harrison & M Lourens +1:13:39