The two were able to shed their bridesmaid tags and won the 93km ride by a massive eight minutes to overturn their deficit at the start of the day and then claim a big five minute advantage over Johan Rabie and Hendrik “HB” Kruger.
And in the mixed event the lead of Catherine Williamson and Johan Labuschagne was never threatened, but the stage winners, Candice Neethling and strongman Darren Lill, were also able to make almost a five-minute dent into their disadvantage to the British Champion and her South African partner.
Both the two women in the leading teams arrived at the finish looking like they had suffered hugely, and, as some wag said on the finish line, they “were joined in the pain cave” by the third woman to cross the line, Amy McDougall, who broke down in tears after finishing three minutes further back with her partner Grant Usher.
That means Williamson and Labuschagne have increased their lead by a minute, but it is now Neethling and Lill who are second, 15 minutes behind the leaders and less than a minute ahead of Usher and McDougal.
With three days to go it seems unlikely Williamson and Labuschagne will be caught, but the aftereffects of Wednesday’s stage could mean some riders will struggle and the state of the three leading women at the finish means there is potential for a shakeup on Thursday’s stage.
1 Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck (NAD Pro MTB) 3.49.51
2 Johann Rabie and Hendrik Kruger (Team Telkom) 3.58.34
3 Andrew Hill and Tyronne White (Thule PYGA TIB Insurance) 4.10.49
4 Pieter Seyffert and Hanco Kachelhoffer (Altech Karan Beef Pro Cycling) 4.16.49
5 Dalaet Julien and Ischard Frederic (Vojomag Velochannel) 4.19.31
1 Darren Lill and Candice Neethling (Dorma USN Purefit) 4.19.04
2 Johan Labuschagne and Catherine Williamson (The Bicycle Company Mitas) 4.23.50
3 Amy Mcdougall and Grant Usher (Valencia Lanham-Love) 4.26.05
4 Sonya Looney and Yuki Ikeda (FreakShow Defeet Topeak Ergon) 4.
5 Peter Vesel and Ivonne Kraft (MDM Team) 4.
1 Charles Mcfall 4.10.51
2 Calvin Beneke 4.10.51
3 John Ntuli 4.16.27
4 Raf de Bakker 4.19.07
5 Brennan Anderson 4.20.01
1 Samantha Sanders and Anriette Schoeman (Valencia) 5.01.51.
Original source: Old Mutual joBerg2C: Day 6 - Queen Stage