It’s a new tour, a new look, and after the opening stage, a number of new favorites as the race looks ahead to the midweek time trial.
The opening salvos have been fired, this time on the flat roads of London. With less than 1,000 feet of elevation on tap, it was the perfect stage for the big men to put down the power. It was also a prime opportunity for the sprinters, with two opportunities to score including one just 1km before the finish line, a neat wrinkle from Race Director Brad Hochstetler. Unfortunately, the race was without its fearless leader, who was pulled into emergency dad duty just hours before the race started.
Under the stewardship of Carl Copenhaver, the race eased into action with a neutral rollout of 9 kilometers. Things stayed together early, giving everyone a chance to chat in the peloton and welcome some of the newer riders to the Tour, including Marie Voss, Alex Tenelshof, Dan Yankus, and Kellen Caldwell. Plenty of favorites from the Winter Is Here Tour are back, including Andy Weir, Wes Sovis, and Ryan Zamzow-Masters, who, due to a technical glitch, was unable to start.
Every rider was in touch early, but the great and the good used one of the two small ramps on the course to make an early separation. On the base of Box Hill, before making the left turn to Richmond Park, the race lit up. Caldwell and Yankus pulled clear, with the Motorhead duo of Wes Sovis and Ted Schneider also in touch. Lemmy would have been proud, and then immediately incensed, when the two ‘heads were gapped coming out of the subway, leaving just two riders up the road before the race even hit halfway.
There was a rather long and reserved chase, with neither Motorhead nor Motley Crue able to organize an effective chase. When the race hit the first sprint, the gap fell from 28 seconds to 21, but that was as close as things would get until the final kilometers.
The race again split at the short ramp to Richmond Park, Motley Crue, GunsNRoses, and Motorhead emerged into the final 10km of the race with four riders in a position to snaffle up some important points in the team competition. Riding all day with teammates up the road, GnR and Poison were gearing up for a dash to put a second rider onto the podium. A strong move from Wes almost threw a wrench in things, but Motorhead’s day of chasing was just a bit too much. Jon Roubal timed it absolutely perfectly like an Axel Rose screech to snag third, with Yankus and Caldwell tying for the stage win and the first (shared) yellow jersey of the race. Tenelshof came home fourth for Poison, but with Motorhead and GnRs both putting three riders in the top ten, the team competition is going to be a battle. GnR holds a two-point lead, but it’s safe to say that every team is still in the mix here.
This week offers up a 20 kilometer time trial through Sand and Sequoias, which might be enough for Yankus to find a few more seconds on Caldwell before the race hits the rolling hills of Yorkshire next Sunday.
For the full standings after one, head here.