With race leader Jorden Wakeley out, M22 stepped up with their deep squad to take a 1-2 in the first Grand Tour of 2016.
Wakeley and rival Alex Vanias stepped out of the race to enjoy a bike ride in Georgia this weekend, opening the door for Matt and Keegan Myers to shoot for the top two steps of the Grand Tour podium. And with Kaitlyn Patterson also skipping, the women’s GC would see a new leader-and winner- in Erica O’Hearn.
As so often happens at the Giro Competition, there were differing agendas on the line, and as Jeff Owens and Ryan Kennedy tore away after the Truee de Madeleine’s, the reaction was one of steady control from M22, rather than a totally committed chase. Matt and Keegan both rode a tough tempo to defend against any forlorn attacks from third and fourth placed Braiden Voss and Cody Sovis. They even called on youngster Cam Owens to take a long pull on the Power Section, all but sealing the win barring a disaster in the final five miles.
None came, although there were still items up for auction on the day. Luke Tjosvold did enough to retain his red jersey in the Sprint competition, with teammate Ryan Kennedy helping to mop up points. Luke was up against it, however, when the chase didn’t take the Boonenberg at full trot, and it cost him the blue Mountains jersey. Owens and Kennedy took full advantage of the double points on offer, and the pair would finish the competition 1-2, with Luke holding third.
Behind, Cody Sovis did what he does best; win competitions no one else is trying for. The long singlespeeder to finish the whole Grand Tour, he’ll take what we’re calling the Flannel Jersey at the Giro, with teammates Craig Fortuna and Jason Whittaker avowed to keep it in the team at the Tour Competition come July.
Dave Hoyt gave Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing something else to be happy with, winning the Best Old Rider Competition. The team’s three jerseys are some comfort after finally ending their 9 for 9 team competition streak, with M22 putting on an absolutely dominate show of force. In fact, they could have won it and still put a team into second place.
Erica O’Hearn takes the women’s GC, and few riders have been as rock solid and consistent. She’s going to be a force come July and will go toe-to-toe with the best of them all summer long.
With the end of the Giro, we enter the Classics, with Fat Bike Night the opening event for the rest of June. Fat bikes are followed by singlespeeds, then it’s one for the drop bar enthusiasts with Cyclocross Night. It’s all a preview for the biggest event of the summer in the WORLD, the Tour Competition, all July long.
We also get a glimpse at the WorldTour picture after the Giro, which you can check out here.
You can see the final Giro standings here.