Stage 4 of the 2018 Cape Epic was the Queen Stage, and a day of drama but amazingly no big changes in men's GC.
Stage 4 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic was the hardest stage, the Queen stage as they are known in stage races. With Cannondale Factory Racing keen to make ammends for the previous day, they went on the offensive.
Their furious pace had Howard Grotts in trouble, and he relied on his Specialized team mate Jaroslav Kulhavy to measure their pace and ride at a consistent tempo. Meanwhile, Centurion Vaude were also fighting for a stage win along with Buff-Scott, and the action at the front of the race was tight.
Jaro kept Specialized in contention but Centurion Vaude won the stage, with no changes to GC in the top 5.
There was a big change in the women's race as 2nd place Team Spure had to withdraw. Ariane Lüthi and Githa Michiels were unfortunately forced to withdraw from the Absa Cape Epic on Thursday morning, 22 March. The pair were lying second overall, after four consecutive stage second places in the highly competitive women’s category.
The withdrawal was forced due to illness, with the tough Githa picking up a fever overnight and being advised not to start by the race medical staff. “Her high temperature was a big concern, but we thought maybe she would recover overnight,” Ariane said on Thursday morning. “However when she woke up this morning she was still not feeling good, so she went to go see the doctor and was advised not to start because of the potential dangers to her heart.”
“It’s hugely disappointing for both of us,” Ariane continued. “It felt like we could do really well - second place in this tough women’s field is a great accomplishment and if Githa would’ve been 100 percent we still would’ve been gunning for that top spot, because – as we all know – anything can happen in this race.”
While the first part of the race saw Mariske Strauss and Annie Last lighting it up, they sat up soon after the hot spot climb and Langvad and Courtney rode their pace - hard - and won by 8 minutes. All on Langvad's birthday.
In Masters, Bart Brentjens and Abraao Azevedo won the stage with a huge gap on 2nd. This moved Brad Clarke and Rohin Adams to 3rd on GC, but those two have plenty of fight left for the remaining stages.