With Alex Vanias looking like the inevitable winner, Ryan “Mr. President” Kennedy made his bid for yellow on a selective Stage Two. While the yellow jersey is still up for grabs on the men’ side, women’s leader Kaitlyn Patterson need to find her own challenge on a tough night on the Vasa. With her only competition on GC not starting, she was able to take a shot at a new SOL World Record, and promptly set a new benchmark on the heels of a charging chase group.
The day opened with Einstein Racing loading the front end of the field at the start, with Ryan Kennedy, Chris Kushman, Cody Sovis and Jason Whittaker present and correct over the opening salvos of climbs. Race leader Alex Vanias looked comfortable with the pace and didn’t panic even as Kennedy moved to the front and put the power down. Kyle Macdermaid was monitoring the situation as well, looking to hold a podium finish by the end of the Tour. Missing were a number of contenders, including Craig Webb, Keegan Myers and Jason Lowetz. Word on the street is that Justin Bieber did an iTunes concert last night and they didn’t want to miss it.
Instead, it was Vanias himself working to the front heading into the Truee de Madeleine, with just six riders making the juncture. Heading into the Power Section and the day’s sprint point, Vanias and Kennedy pulled clear. With Einstein looking to keep Kushman on the podium, Sovis went to the front to of the first chase group to try to control the gap. Even with an effort from Kushman and a finishing drag from Sovis, the duo up front were gone for the night, and the chase turned their attentions to the battle for third on the day and third on GC.
Behind, Jason Whittaker paired with rising star Craig “Tuna” Fortuna to bring home a very quick crew that included the flying Kaitlyn Patterson, who was top ten on the night for the fastest time on the KOM point, the Boonenberg. Luke Tjosvold rode easy last night to conserve energy for one big effort and he will be rewarded with a big lead in the KOM competition, where he sits four points clear of teammates Chris Kushman and Jason Whittaker, with JW second fastest up the climb on Stage Two.
Rob G. will win the Best Old Rider Competition if he can complete the rest of the Tour. He’ll also ride as the big hope for Hagerty’s Team Competition hopes in the meantime, with Susan Vigland offering up some solids times all year. That Team Competition has been claimed by Einstein Racing thus far, with Kennedy and Kushman posting the team’s times through two stages.
Stage Three will be the big night for the sprinter’s. Usually a favorite, Cody Sovis has announced he will not target green after failing to score more than a half dozen points for the first time in a Grand Tour sprint competition. He’ll be in to support the team’s Sprint and KOM hopes in the final two stages, especially for the Queen Stage in two weeks. Craig Fortuna is emerging as a big talent for the squad, and he’ll be enlisted, alongside Whittaker, to control affairs on the decisive final stage.
You can watch a lot of the action courtesy of Kyle Macdermaid!