Jeff Owens confirmed he’s the man for the maglia rosa, while the gaps opened into chasms on Stage Two.
It was a virtual repeat of Stage One’s dominance from Keen Racing’s Jeff Owens. While not wearing a pink jersey, the aura around him as the confirmed leader of the race and heavy favorite was tangible in the deference paid to the ride on the line. With a new mix of riders and a sizeable crop of Did Not Starts, there was always a chance of a new dynamic this week, but the result was, by and large identical.
With double points on offer over the Vasa CC Climb, at least the opening mile and a half had a more ferocious pace. After Cody Sovis’ processional to the first turn, there was a palpable quivering in the bunch as riders gambled at the back and waiting as long as they dared to make their move to the front and set the fastest time. Jason Johnson timed his move to perfection to take double points and vault himself into the mix, even after missing the first stage. Owens, Dan Ellis, Kyle Macdermaid, and John O’Hearn all picked up points as well, with Owens sitting just two points clear. If we had one, Ellis would be wearing the polka dot jersey. (Editor’s Note: Does anyone have my polka dot jersey from last year?)
Off the climb and onto the new 10km to Special K section, it was a mirror image to last week. One Stage One, it was Owens moving off the front and a bridge from Sovis that saw the pair clear. Last night, the roles were reversed but the result was the same. This time, however, Jason Johnson made contact and latched onto the back while the race’s first and second GC rider relayed onto the Power Section.
Behind, Cody’s kolo t.c. teammate Dan Ellis refused to work, forcing O’Hearn and Macdermaid, to chase. They were buoyed by Jon and/or Josh Zelinski for much of the stage, but still lost a chunk of time despite the group’s best efforts. With three different groups of riders tying for points on the Power Section, Cody’s lead is just four points on Owen and a full 14 riders have scored in that competition. Next week is the last change at double points in the fight for the maglia ciclomino, and it’s far from consolidated, as Sovis had hopped.
The Owens/Sovis collaboration finally snapped Johnson over the top of the Boonenberg, though the big M22 rider held on for third and a strong showing in his 2019 SOL debut. Owens led across the line and pocketed one further second to put himself now 8 clear of Sovis, though there’s little doubt that gap is the result of Owen’s magnanimity rather than Sovis’ merit. The cooperation served both riders well; Owens is 2’48” clear of O’Hearn and 3’00 ahead of Macdermaid, riders who may turn their attentions to the Points and Mountains classifications in the race’s second phase.
Sadly, we again won’t have a women’s GC finisher, although Sara Sovis did keep the women on the results sheet for the day. She posted a 59 minute lap that was slowed by her stopping to clear a few branches on the trail for the SOL riders who started an hour after her solo sojourn. Jeff G also rode early and keeps his Best Old Rider jersey for the kolo t.c.squad…unless there are people over 45 who want to be scored in that competition that have made both stages. Let me know.
Alas, it’s only kolo t.c. have scored at both of the first two stages, which means they need simply to keep showing up to retain the Team Competition title. With Andy in our nation’s capital for the “Dreamy Blue Eyes Association Annual Gala” and Wes opting to stay glued to the couch, the team was looking a little thin for Stage Two. That is, until Jaden Drews and Craig Fortuna to ably step up and hammer down. There is strength in depth, to be sure.
Stage Three will offer up those valuable points over the Power Section, and with the third podium spot and every other competition still up for grabs, expect to see some tactical racing.
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You can see Owen’s record-setting ride here (Strava messed up, he won).
The full Giro standings are available here.
The times and finishing order from each week are available here.
The WorldTour standings are right here, just hit the Giro tab.