In what turned out to be a much more selective opener to the Winter is Coming Tour, Stage One saw some big gaps open throughout the field, though there is still plenty to play for throughout the field and in the sprint and KOM competitions.
After 7km of neutral racing to acknowledge the fans and reintroduce riders to the virtual peloton, the race started with a sharp sprint point early. That saw sprint favorite Chris Ostberg take full points and the early lead in the sprint competition, but it also stretched the field for the first time. Gaps opening, the peloton then crashed into the Aquaduct climb, which is really more like a short 40 second sprint. That boroke the group into pieces, with a small group off the front that included some of the GC favorites like Dan Yankus and Al McWilliams.
Even with a few riders catching back on , the first selection had been made. With three riders in the front group, Team Green had to decide whether to work or play their hand against Yankus. In hindsight, they should have worked, because they burned one card on the other side of the first trip up the KOM, only to have a sizeable chase group including Ryan DeFour, Drew Cummins, and a flying Alex Theophilus back into the race.
Standings after Stage One
The return of DeFour was critical, and after a demonstrative move from Yankus and fellow superstud Jon Roobal, Team Red now has Yankus in first, Lucas van Drunen 6th, Ryan Kennedy 9th, DeFour 10th, and Eric Langley 12th.
Roobal’s Orange squad is well represented with a clutch of riders the top ten as well with Cummins, Matt LeVasseur, and Alex Theophilus all getting back on late.
Big questions are being asked of Team Blue. They failed to put a rider in the top ten on GC, though there’s every sign that Jamison Shepard will make his way there by the end of this Tour. They will be all-in to support their Green Jersey wearer Chris Ostberg, who leads that competition by a 5 point margin. With Keegan Korienek in fourth, they maybe able to mop up points and put that competition to bed early.
Casse Pattes, which serves as the Stage One course, is the last stage with sustained climbs over 5 minutes until the Queen Stage to wrap up the Tour, which finishes atop the Innsbruck KOM.
Winter is Coming Stage Two
During the week, riders could put in as many attempts on the Astoria Line 8 route as they could stomach. While these times are NOT official, the stage offered up another big shuffle in GC. That trend will continue with Stage Three on Sunday. Stay tuned for a link to the livestream!
You can see all the GC, KOM, and Sprint standings here.