It’s a night for the sprinters, as attention turn from the maillot a pois to the maillot vert.
Last week’s second stage saw Kennedy, Owens and Cody Sovis off the front and putting time into the field, but for Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing, it wasn’t all good news. For all of Kennedy’s famous horsepower and Sovis’ tactical nous, the duo were reduced to simply holding on for dear sweet life as Owens repeatedly put them to the sword.
Rumors of Owens dropping out of the Tour Competition with eyes on Rio abound, however, and that may be the best hope of anyone unseating him as race favorite. Kennedy has vowed to race for the win, and team DS Jason Lowetz has confirmed that he’ll have the entire team at his disposal for Stage Three and, even more important, for the Queen Stage next week.
Indeed, the approach of many riders tonight will be influenced by the looming giant that is la tappa reina, two full laps of the course, where time gaps can balloon into many minutes if a rider has a bad night. No lead or gap is safe, and with over 20 miles to work with, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see Jorden Wakeley ride back into the podium picture next week.
Owens’ KEEN teammates, Marc Brunette and Kyle Macdermaid have had a massive influence on the race thus far and will be looking to pull back time this evening. They’ve been arm-in-arm with John O’Hearn all Tour, with the trio all still very much in the hunt to make a run at the podium. O’Hearn sits less than 20 seconds back on Sovis, with the KEEN pair not far off the pace, either.
That trio should also be a force to recon with for the night’s double points over the Power Section. It’s a night labeled as “The Sprinter’s Revenge”, with the race hosting two Mountain nights. Tonight should all but decide the Points classification, and even the classification leaders Ryan Kennedy and Jeff Owens aren’t in the clear with so many points up for grabs.
The Best Old Rider competition was the thriller of stage two, with Steve “Love Is A” Lagerquist moving into white ahead of former winner of the competition, Rob Goepfrich. Goepfrich has put out the call to his Hagerty teammates to help him back into contention, with Lagerquist relying on the power support of Wes Sovis and Jon Throop once again this week.
The Team Competition is alarmingly close, with ERSB just 30 seconds ahead of KEEN. M22 will no doubt get a boost from an invested Jorden Wakeley, with Hagerty looking for a big showing to get back into contention.
miniSOL hits its third night with the race in a virtual stranglehold by the Jean sisters. Arielle Jean’s two runner-up finishes are remarkably in consistency, but it will no doubt be a point of pride for the yellow jersey to take a win, and this could be the night. Sander Stuart, Zack Gerlando and Grady Ellis will also be gunning for the top step, and with no GC concerns, they’ll be able to take any and all chances that arise.