The Giant of Grayling edged out his lead in the Vuelta, confirming his position of top dog in the fall series.
Jason Lowetz gave it his all, including taking a day off from his day job to make sure his legs were in prime shape. Indeed, the might of Einstein Racing wasn’t able to rein in Wakeley, though they positively swarmed the top ten on a day where riders were much quicker than Stage One.
Eli Brown and Sean Kickbush have made names for themselves as weekly top ten candidates, with Steve Andriese also on pace. Rob Goepfrich had a career day, taking 8th on the stage for Einstein Racing who, when added with Jeff Galsterer, put no less than six riders in the top ten. It was a great team showing on a day that show over 30 racers take the line, the second biggest field in the history of the Speed of Light, and that will some GC riders declining to race on Stage Two.
There were a number of non-starters, including both Sovis Brothers, who bow out of the general classification to target the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross and the World Championships coming up as well. Brian Beauchamp and Bryan Carps stepped up, both putting in faster times than on Stage One and looking like the new heir-apparents for Hagerty Cycling in the woods. Hagerty as a squad showed up in numbers, including Bryan Klym and Dave Bucholtz.
The KOM Competition is going to Wakeley, now up by quite a healthy margin with just one stage to go (see below). He’s also leading the Sprint Competition, though he’ll need to stay on his guard if he wants to make a clean sweep of the proceedings.
Steve Andriese should have the Best Old Rider Competition standings, going on ten minutes over teammate Pete Worden. Ed Johnson lost his podium place to a flying Rob Goepfrich, who closed the gap and added one of his own to move into third place in the battle for the white jersey.
Due to greatly decreasing light, the Vuelta will conclude with the Queen Stage next week. The shortened race should also make the World Championships, which are in two weeks, a bit safer and increase the massive turnout expected for the Race for the Rainbow Jersey. It will also put pressure on Lowetz and the Einstein squad to make their move on Wakeley, who pulled his lead out to well over a minute.
La Tappa Reine offers up time bonuses of 20, 10 and 5 seconds on the line, which means all of the podium places are still up for grabs if everything goes awry for Wakeley, Lowetz or Kennedy. Kushman and Schmidt will still look to be in the top three, and further back, there are a number of spots up for grabs in the top ten. Smaller time gaps than in the Tour mean there could be a lot of reshuffling in the final day.
The new GC has a few riders already on the move, especially with riders in the top fifteen not making starts. Bryan Carps moves up big, though Rob Goepfrich is flying toward the top ten as well. Great legs and faster conditions could change a lot of fortunes in the final week.
King of the Mountains Competition
Best Old Rider Competition