Platt (Team Bulls) and Sauser (Investec-Songo-Specialized) head a quality field for the 121km race from Oudtshoorn in the Karoo to Great Brak on the coast, with an accumulated elevation of just under 3 000 metres.
The Attakwas is the equivalent of a tough Cape Epic stage, which is appropriate since Platt and Sauser share the record of five Cape Epic wins apiece. They will both be targeting a sixth Epic title in March.
Both riders have experience of the route because Platt won his only Attakwas title last year, while Sauser won in 2013 and 2015.
The 38-year-old German is playing his cards close to his chest.
“I’m feeling okay, but I will have to see how I feel on Saturday in a proper race situation,” he said.
For Sauser, the Attakwas return signals the seriousness of his comeback after not riding last year.
The 40-year-old has been training at home but is ready for the hot conditions he will face on Saturday.
“It will be a big change from minus five degrees to over 30 degrees, but I sure want to be in the hunt for the Attakwas win,” said Sauser.
Another former Cape Epic winner, Kristian Hynek (Topeak Ergon), will ride his maiden Attakwas and will be looking for guidance form South African team-mate Erik Kleinhans.
Gert Heyns, third in 2015, wants to put his new team, Ascendis Health, on the podium for the first time in a high profile race, while also striving to become the first South African to win the Attakwas since Matthys Beukes in 2012.
In addition to Heyns and Kleinhans, other notable South Africans on the entry list include the Telkom BCX pair of Waylon Woolcock and HB Kruger and Dylan Rebello.
Swiss racer Urs Huber (Bulls) holds the course record of 4:47:56, which he set in his 2015 triumph.
A forecast maximum temperature of 25C with a 14kph south-easterly headwind at 11am at the finish isn’t unmanageable, which means a record time is a possibility, given the strong field.
The event has been given International Cycling Union status for the first time this year.