The general classification has found some shape after Stage One, and the leaders will look to maintain and extend on an important second stage.
Alex Vanias is very much in the driver’s seat after one trip around the revamped SOL course. With a healthy lead on GC, he can even start to focus on his leads in the other classifications, chiefly the Sprint competition, which is up for double points this Thursday. Vanias used two moves to open up his winning margin, the most demonstrative on the new Madeleine’s Trail segment. Putting the hammer down, he gapped the rest of the lead group by nearly 20 seconds in less than a mile, and then renewed his assault over the Power Section to equal the long standing KOM on 2.9 mile section.
Equally well positioned is Kaitlyn Patterson, who sits with a solid lead and room to improve. She’s already become the first woman to score in a points competition, and has good reason to hope to repeat that success going forward. Her climbing talent serves as a nuclear bomb against the rest of the women’s field; on any given SOL, she need only detonate once to all but end things.
City Bike Shop’s minute-plus lead in the Team Competition will be under fire this week as well, but with Tom White and Josh Zelinski riding so tough, it’ll be a tall ask to overcome them in the three remaining stages. Einstein Racing will call on the returning Ryan Kennedy and Luke Tjosvold to register their top two times after some strong but pedestrian results from Cody Sovis and Nate St. Onge on Stage One. The return of the President certainly lends some weight, especially if the team can find some gaps early to open up in the tough, twisting finale to the finish.
After a balmy Stage One, temperatures are back down to a perfect 64 degrees according to the forecast, while two days of on and off rain should be of some help on the sand and dust, some of which was reduced by the 2015 change of course. Rider feedback was mostly positive, with some lamenting the lack of Wood Chip, but most approving of the slight change of direction and a long, more sustained climb replacing the short, steep and loose Wood Chip.
Stage Two leaves Ec at 6.30pm, or rolls through the Bunker Hill Parking lot at 6.45pm.