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Ghost Factory Racing Gaining Momentum With 5th Stage Win - Absa Cape Epic



Images by Max Sullivan/ Cape Epic


Two riders accustomed to riding at the front this week once again kept their composure to take their fifth win out of five (the Prologue and four stages) in the Aramex Women’s Category.


Anne Terpstra and Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) have barely put a pedal stroke wrong all week; and just when it looked like Sofia Gomez Villafane and Samara Sheppard (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne) might have something to say about the GHOST Factory Racing dominance, Terpstra and Koller pounced when it mattered most.


The Aramex Women’s Category race on Stage 4 of the Absa Cape Epic was characterised by the three top teams jostling for position all day long. Punch and counter-punch from start to finish of the stage, there was absolutely nothing separating the six leading riders in the women’s race. On the climbs, on the descents, through the water points, they were closer than a six-bladed shave.


All three of GHOST Factory Racing, Cannondale Factory Racing and Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne made it up the final climb together and then all rolled onto the final Cliffhanger descent together.


The race exploded into life, though, when New Zealander Samara Sheppard launched an attack with a few kilometres to go. Weaving across the trail and narrowly heading over a bridge when disaster seemed the more likely outcome, Sheppard nipped ahead of Terpstra and Koller.


Not to be denied another stage win, though, the GHOST Factory Racing pair quickly responded and doused the flames of the Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne fire. Three teams made it onto the home stretch together, but no one could outpace the overall Orange Jersey leaders.


“I was prepared for more attacks to be honest,” said Terpstra. “I think both Specialized and Cannondale wanted to make the pace high from the beginning but it turned out that actually Nicole and I were the fastest, which was nice! It was nice to know that they could try, but we're still there, we're hanging on. It was a very cool stage and a lot of fun.”


With three stages to come, second-placed Cannondale Factory Racing are only two-and-a-half minutes behind the overall leaders; the finish promises to be explosive, especially if Mitterwallner lives up to her fighting words. “That was one of the hardest races of my life. I’m not on top of my game, which is frustrating but Candice is super strong. Still, there are only two minutes in it; I won't give up, I will fight to the last second!”


Aramex Women's Category, Stage 4

1 Anne Terpstra & Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) 4:08:50

2 Sofia Gomez Villafane & Samara Sheppard (Toyota-Specialized-Ninetyone) 4:08:52

3 Candice Lill & Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) 4:08:52


Aramex Women's Category GC after Stage 4

1 Anne Terpstra & Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) 19:31:44

2 Candice Lill & Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) 19:34:15  +2:31

3 Sofia Gomez Villafane & Samara Sheppard (Toyota-Specialized-Ninetyone) 19:39:40  +7:56

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