Today saw the ACTUAL queen stage of the 2018 Cape Epic due to its rough, technical and varied terrain and climbing profile. 111km with 1800m of climbing saw riders traverse the Slanghoek valley and ascent the infamous Bain’s Pass down into Wellington on the other side. The unfortunate news from the morning team call up was that Team Spurs Luthi and Michiels would not be starting the day due to Michiels being told by team doctors not to continue. After developing a fever overnight the team made the tough call to withdraw at the start of stage 4. The rest of the field rolled out of Worchester and quickly followed the old N1 towards Goudini Spa where they encountered the first of many single track sections on the day. The top three teams of Investec Songo, Silverback KMC and Ascendis Health stayed together, but as they entered the slanghoek trails Investec Songo started pulling away and the others worked hard to stay in touch. By the time the ladies reached the 4th water point the Investec Team had pulled ahead and were pushing the pace to grow the gap. At this point the leading pair had a time gap of 2:45 over the next two teams. Hitting the tar of Bain’s Pass, Investec Songo powered ahead and gained another 7 minutes over their rivals. It seemed the time trial skills of the team played a big part in growing their lead advantage as they worked hard up Bain’s Pass and they crossed the line with a massive 10 minutes over the rest of the field. The Silverback KMC ladies also created some space over their rivals Ascendis Health. They came home in second place and managed to gain a precious minute over Ascendis in the GC. The Dormakaba team of Sanders and Buchacher had a solid day with no mechanicals and managed to come home in 4th place. The Women’s African Jersey leaders- Team Dormmkaba’s Lill and McDougall came over the line in 5th and retain their jerseys for another day. Tomorrow sees us take on a new aspect to the Epic, a time trial stage of 39km on the trails of Wellington. It will spice things up and will be exciting to see how the ladies take this stage in their stride.