Buff Scott MTB take the stage and Ninetyone-songo-Specialized extended leads.

The rapid-fire 73km blitz through the beautiful Slanghoek Valley from Saronsberg, Tulbagh to Goudini Spa saw some huge shake-ups in the men’s GC. The Dutch-Portuguese pairing of Hans Becking and José Dias of Buff Scott MTB, rode a flawless race to claim the win, while overall leaders Matt Beers and Jordan Sarrou (NinetyOne-songo-Specialized), resplendent in yellow, took second on the day, extending their overall lead.

Unfortunately, their nearest rivals – Canyon Northwave MTB – abandoned the stage before the start due to stomach complaints for Martin Stošek. Andreas Seewald continued as a solo rider but is out of the racing. BULLS rider Simon Schneller was also ill overnight but opted to start the stage and nurse his way through.

That leaves Beers and Sarrou with a 00:06:42 lead over Martin Frey and Simon Stienjahn (BULLS 2). Samuele Porro and Fabien Rabensteiner (Trek-Pirelli) now move into third on the general classification.

“Every day is a little bit tougher,” said Stigger, The body is definitely feeling it..."

In the Elite women’s race, Stigger and Frei made the most of their comfortable lead to enjoy the trails - even if the toll of five days of racing is starting to tell. “Every day is a little bit tougher,” said Stigger. “The body is definitely feeling it. But there were amazing trails today and we really enjoyed riding them; that makes it easy to get up in the morning when you know you are going to ride good trails.”

The NinetyOne-songo-Specialized rider added that teamwork has been crucial to their successful ride so far. “We’ve had good teamwork. We race together in Europe, we are friends, so that makes it easier to ride and race together.”

Stage 5 of the Absa Cape Epic will take riders on a route that embraces the brutal but amazing Wellington trail network. Pre-ride homework and teamwork will be crucial, as will a good sense of humour, grit and determination, especially when you look at the weather forecast.