Hold your horses there, Django. This cattle drive ain’t over yet. With a strong lead in the Team Competition, Team Django went for a jailbreak, but their closest rivals, Team Eastwood, ain’t here to jaw.
WWT Stage 5. The Outlaw Josie Sovis
So, how do you want to play it? Deep into the wee hours of the night, all three teams were evaluating the best way to win Stage 5’s unique team pursuit. Instead of a split-squad riding in their own pens and own groups, the whole race split into three pens: A pen, B pen (with a 4-minute head start) and E pen for Bandits…which ended up being just one poor SOB. (Sorry, Maquire).
Stage 5 Tacticals
Django went for broke, putting 6 of their strongest riders in B pen and doing all out from the gun. The tactic? Hope A wouldn’t work together (they didn’t), the other teams would fall apart (Tuco did), and they’d take the points on the line (they didn’t).
It was a bold move and caused plenty of consternation in a tiny A pen, which had 4 tense minutes to fill before being able to give chase.
How It Played Out
Thanks to time checks from the B riders, the teams in the A pen knew if they were gaining or losing time. With the A teams 15 seconds faster through 4 laps, the panic fell away for Team Eastwood. That meant their hopes were largely on Wes Sovis, the rider looking to bring in the third spot in B for the squad and therefore score their team competition time. Lap after lap, he held on, even as Django leaned on the gas on every incline. While he did lose a handful of seconds in the final lap, it was nothing close to the implosion Django needed. Eastwood’s Ted Schnieder, a last-minute swap to be to counter Django and take on Tuco’s king sprinter, Chris Ostberg, won the stage.
Related Content: Winter Western Tour Stages 1 and 2
Yellow jersey wearer Aaron Mahoney put 16 more seconds into his closest GC threat, Al McWilliams, and put in the fastest time. It was Joey Bianchini, however, who came in .1 seconds ahead of Lucas van Drunen to give Eastwood the A pen win.
While points are still being tallied, it looks like Eastwood wins the stage and closes the gap to Django with just one stage remaining.
You can see points and standings from the Winter Western Tour presented by DIRTy Mitten Racing League updated as soon as Brad has time.
Stage 6 is the Queen Stage, appropriately named “A Million Ways to Die in the West”. It’s a 28.6-mile stage on a modified version of the Climber’s Gambit map and finishes at the top of the Reverse Epic KOM. It’s the first mountain top finish of the tour and a chance for riders to really shake up the GC with one last dash up to the top of the peak.