As close as the racing has been, the positions on GC has some big gaps. Today’s Queen stage as it is known, being the longest of the race, took the ladies from Arabella along the mountain contours towards Worcester . The morning was cool and some low lying clouds threatened the sky with some rain predicted later in the morning. A stark contrast from the first two stages with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees on both days. The leading pair, Anika Lagvad and Kate Courtney of Investec Songo rolled up to the start looking relaxed and focused. They had a comfortable lead but looked to gain even more time over Ariane Luthi and Githa Michiels from Team Spur lying in second on GC. Silverback KMC who started the day in third looked hungry to make an impression on the longer stage. Team Ascendis Health, having suffered some setbacks in the first two stages, also looked focused to regain some time on the leading trio. Investec Songo made it known from the first few kilometers that they had intentions to grow their lead. They powered away but the Spur ladies along with Ascendis and silverback KMC stayed with them. The four teams seemed eager to push the pace. Silverback KMC suffered a mechanical and dropped back 6 minutes from the leading ladies. Ascendis Health took charge just after water point 3 , leading the group but the others followed closely. Investec Songo once again took the reigns soon after the water point and slowly gained precious seconds over the other teams as they rode into water point 4 at 92km. Once again a strong tactical ride from Investec Songo saw the team wear the Orange jersey for the 4th consecutive day and gain some time over their rivals with a five minutes advantage on the day. A sprint finish between Team Spur and Team Ascendis Health saw the Spur ladies coming home for second and the Ascendis pair rounding out the podium. The Ascendis Health pair of Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz seem to have gotten over the worst of their troubles and seem eager to claw back their deficit. Tomorrow sees us make our way over the Limiet mountains via Bainskloof pass to the charming town of Wellington. It will be another long day in the saddle with some close racing in the UCI Women’s Category.
The overall GC for UCI Women after Stage 3:
The stage results for Stage 3: