“We started the race with a 4km neutral zone before the flag went down and racing was underway,” says MTN-Qhubeka Team Manager Carri-Ann Botha. “The race started slowly, but as we hit the first climb coming out of town the attacks started to come. However with Dolmans Boels and RusVelo controlling the front of the bunch, they were not going to allow any moves to go off the front. As the bunch turned right to head through Golden Gate, Karien Alberts (van Jaarsveld) got a rear wheel puncture, but after a quick wheel change was soon back in the bunch.”
Botha notes that the action started on the first climb in the Golden Gate National Park. Robyn de Groot (Lotto Belisol) launched an attack and managed to gain around 15seconds on the bunch before Sarah Storey (Escentual for VioRed) joined her. Together de Groot and Storey worked together to open up a gap of 1min17seconds at one stage.
By now the main peloton was splitting up on the climbs through the reserve so it was a smaller group of chasers left up front. As the race turned left to go up the main climb of the day, De Groot and Storey were brought back to the bunch. This gave the teams of Loto Belisol and Hitec Products a chance to get their GC riders upfront.
Over the top of the climb, a group of around seven riders got away, including Emma Johansson (Hitec Products) and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Lotto Belisol). This group would battle it out over the remaining 25km for the top honours of the stage.
As the leaders were going into Clarens there was a small group of six riders 55 seconds behind them. A further 1min10sec back was another group of five riders.
None of these chasing groups caught the seven leaders who battled it out in a sprint finish as they entered the town of Clarens. Moolman Pasio (Lotto) took the win ahead of Johansson (Hitec Products) on the day, although Johansson had kept her lead intact and took the overall tour victory. Hanka Kupfernagel (RusVelo) took second place in the tour and and Moolman Pasio claimed the third position on the podium.
Stage 4 Results:
1. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Lotto Belisol)
2. Emma Johansson (Hitec Products)
3. Christel Ferrier- Bruneau (Hitec)
18. Anriette Schomeman (MTN-Qhubeka)
27. Sarah Chemaly (MTN-Qhubeka)
38. Karien Alberts (MTN-Qhubeka)
50. Charlotte van der Merwe (MTN-Qhubeka)
Final General Classification:
1. Emma Johansson (Hitec Products)
2. Hanka Kupfernagel (RusVelo)
3. Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol)
18. Anriette Schoeman (MTN-Qhubeka)
25. Sarah Chemaly (MTN-Qhubeka)
34. Karien Alberts (van Jaarsveld) (MTN-Qhubeka)
39. Charlotte van der Merwe (MTN-Qhubeka)
Source: MTN Qhubeka