After 3 stages and 4 days of racing, the Cape Epic title chase is wide open in both elite categories. Team NinetyOne-songo-Specialized ladies Haley Batten and Sofia Gomez Villafane lead by nearly 10 minutes in the women’s category, while team Toyota Specialized Matt Beers and Chris Blevins are in a tight battle for race honors.

The stage covered 101km with 2200m of ascent and played out very differently in the respective categories. The men started with an explosive pace, and only the top general classification (GC) contenders were able to ride at the front. By the second feed point, the riders were nearly 15 minutes ahead of schedule, a testament to their fast racing.

Beers and Blevins were in the front group and followed all the moves during the early part of the day. After WP4, the duo made a tactical move to chase the two leaders and, at this point, managed to distance themselves from their competition and showcase the strength eagerly anticipated.

“Today was a super-fast day. The first hour was above 30km/h. There was a separation in the group, and two riders got away. We thought that we would be able to breach the gap, but that was never realized. Chris and I decided to chase and attempt to reel them in, but ultimately we could not catch them. I am happy that I am feeling like myself again and I can produce a ride that I can be proud of,” said Toyota Specialized’s Beers.

After a monstrous chase, Beers and Blevins were able to minimize their losses to the stage winners, and in doing so, they tightened their grip on the GC podium. The duo is 4:42.1 behind second position and 6:52.2 behind the race leaders, with four more stages to go.

“Every day we get further away from the bad day we had on stage 1, and we work towards recovering time on the GC leaders. Hopefully, we can continue with this trajectory and there are a few stages left, so anything is still possible,” added Blevins.