An assault on the Alpe was always going to shake things out, but those who dare to test the heavens are known to fall.
After a fourth stage that did more to shake up the GC than anticipated, the climbers finally had their day to strike back in a tour that, by and large, has seen relatively little elevation. Even the Pumphouse 8, with over 2,000 feet of climbing, saw just one climb over five minutes in length, a distance and gradient more than sufferable by some the strongmen like Brad Pauly, Wes Sovis, and both, yes, both, Korieneks.
Stage Five offered no such respite, and things started hot early. Motorhead rolled out a brilliant tactic of putting Mark “STRIKEFORCE” on a MTB to get the group to the start, an effort that stretched out the peloton along the gradual descent to the base of the climb.
At 7.5 miles and 3,398 feet of elevation, the Alpe averages 8.5% along its infamous twenty-one hairpins. Some of the most challenging gradients come early, and that’s where the great and the good decision to press into action. A bold move early from Kellen Caldwell saw an early gap that was chased down by the first and second-placed riders on GC, Alex Tenelshof and Dan Yankus. That chase brought along with it the third-placed rider on GC, Jon Roobal, and with his trusty lieutenant for the day, Sovis. After the fourth hairpin, Tenelshof set off in pursuit of Caldwell, leaving his teammate to ride the Alpe alone but also ensuring himself a shot at the stage and maximum points.
With Yankus up the road, Cody did what he could for Roobal in the middle of the climb. Eventually, Roobal would take flight, pulling out time on his pursuers on a stage even though he was worried about ceding valuable minutes.
And his pursuers were dogged. While somehow invisible, the riders closest to Roobal on GC, Wes Sovis and Brad Pauly, rode an incredibly well-paced stage alongside Ted Scheider who was, in fact, visible. The trio only lost a little over a minute to Cody Sovis and under two minutes to Roobal.
If Poison has the strongest two riders, then Motorhead has the strongest six. They also slotted Collin Snyder and Dan Madion into the top twenty, with Guns’n’Roses also getting big rides from Kent McNeil and Ryan Linden. Poison went 1-2 on the stage, but also picked up points with Dan Korienek, Alex Theophilus, and Jeff Wentzloff all inside the top twenty as well.
For Motley Crue, it wasn’t their best stage, but they can send another ‘Thank You’ note to their talismanic Spencer Nemecek, who dropped his guise as a sprinter to finish top man on the day in 8th place. With no KOM or Sprint points on offer, the stage results will be the sole tally, and that makes Spencer, yet again, one of the top points-getters of the day.
This week, squads will have to divide up into two-man (or woman) pairings for a 20km two-person TT. There are sprint points on offer as well, so the squads may need to take a strategic look at their pairings to prioritize between GC and any hopes for the green jersey.
Even more importantly, thank you for supporting Cherryland Humane Society and Great Lakes Humane Society. So far, we’ve raised over $500 and there’s still time to donate! We also rescued a dog, Ruby, so that’s should count, too.