The dramatic weather was a welcome change as cool and cloudy conditions greeted the riders at the start of Stage 6. Dubbed a “play day” the day would see riders enjoying the Walvanpas and Bain’s trails as they completed the circular route back to Wellington. The news broke early that Silverback KMC rider Mariska Strauss had fallen ill during the evening and spent some time in the Mediclinic tent before the stage. It seemed likely the pair would suffer on the stage and would need to fight hard to save their 6 minute advantage over Ascendis Health. Investec Songo was all but safe in their 1st position and barring any major issues would roll home on Sunday victorious in their Cape Epic campaign. The ladies passed the first water point at 19km in a small group which consisted of Investec Songo, Ascendis Health, PMRA/CST racing and the Dormakaba team of Lill and Mcdougall . It seemed Silverback KMC and the ailing Strauss had fallen off the pace and would suffer throughout. They trailed by about 3 min behind Ascendis and needed to stay in touch so not to lose their 2nd position overall. The ladies seemed to be flying through the single tracks and enjoying the amazing trails that walvanpas offers. By the time they reached the water point at 62km, the Investec Songo ladies had a 3 min advantage out front and the Ascendis Heath team were riding a strong second gaining valuable time over the trailing Silverback KMC team who seemed to be slowing down. In a powerful performance was the team of PMRA/CST racing who were looking likely to be on the podium by the end of the stage. The team is lying 7th on GC so this would be an incredible ride by these ladies to come home in third. The Investec Ladies rolled home to take the win and gain a further 3 minutes over their nearest rivals and looked set to take the overall win at Val de Vie on Sunday. The Ascendis Health ladies cruised Home in second position and had done enough to overtake the Silverback KMC ladies into 2nd spot on the GC. A fantastic strong ride by the PMRA/CST pair saw them rounding out the podium and they seemed ecstatic to share the stage with the leading ladies. 4th place was a strong ride by the African Leaders Jersey holders of Dormakaba and they were followed home by the second Dormakaba Team, Sanders and Buchacher. The Silverback KMC ladies came home in an incredible 6th place with the ailing Strauss being seen to by medical staff at the finish. They now move down the GC to 3rd at the start of tomorrow and hopefully can fight one more day to see the line at Val De Vie.
The last lioness is still very much on her way to completing the Cape Epic and remaining one of only four riders who have completed every single race since its inception.