Need for Speed Tour: Stage 2 and Stage 3 Recaps

Sorry, employers, we didn’t get anything was TT week. The word(s) of the week and the weekend was BIKE SWAP, with Stages 2 and 3 both offering up chances to hit the change rigs and pocket points. Few 4.7-mile time trials could possibly stir up as much discussion as this one.

Stage 2: Swap or Nah?

Early riders tended to stick with a single bike for a unique iTT. Starting at the pens near the Jungle circuit and ending at hairpin #17 on Alpe Du Zwift, it was a surprisingly balanced effort. Timewise, nearly half the race was downhill on gravel, with the final half uphill (at about 10%) on pavement.

By mid-week, however, the great and the good had proven the effectiveness of a swap. After strong rides Ryan Maguire and Steve Harris, times tumbled. Marc Walters, Brad Pauly and a flying Martin Harris all flirted with sub-16 minutes until a slew of riders made it happen.

Taking the stage win by just two seconds, Al McWilliam’s 15:13 wasn’t quite enough to take yellow. That went to runner-up Jeb Stone, would found just a single second between himself and third place on the day, Dan Yankus.

Ben Shields and Alex Ralston both confirmed themselves as top five contenders.

Stage 2 Team Points

Wild Weasels took the stage points by putting 3 riders in the top ten and squeezing two more into the top 20. The Vipers were close, but finished just a few points back.

After two stages, the four teams were facing a pair of ties:

  • Vipers 18
  • Wild Weasels 18
  • Tomcats 10
  • Warthogs 10

Stage Three: Chaos

The whispers of bike swaps turned into a roar of Discord chatter by the end of the week. The iTT stage had shown just how important swaps could be, leading to endless (seriously, they’re still talking about it) debate on the right tactics.

Start on gravel? Start on Tron? Swap or no swap? Swap twice or four times?

Of course, the best-laid plans rarely survive contact with the enemy.

The field exploded well before the gravel in any case. Slamming into the base of the reverse EPIC KOM, the Vipers had 6 riders in the front group, all of whom were on Tron bikes. While the group split a bit, they looked good….until they realized that some of the fastest riders of the Need for Speed tour were present and correct. McWiliiams nailed the climb on the gravel bike and effortlessly rode away. Behind, Yankus and Roobal both swapped and rode like demons to rejoin the front. Vipers missed the move and never quite regained contact, with Jeb Stone and Alex Ralston riding a two-man TT to save top 5 finishes and pocket points.

Behind, the entire race was ripped to shreds. Groups of a few riders spend the next hour constantly reassessing their tactics, deciding if and where to swap bikes and whom to chase. One of the best moves of the day was from the Tomcats. Dropped early, Wes Sovis and Kevin Soules settled into towing C pen teammates Ben Price, Terry Ritter and Joel Smith to a podium sweep, plus helping Jason Johnson get around quickly, too. That points haul was massive and paired well with the A pen results.

Once clear, Yankus, McWilliams and Roobal piled on the watts, finding a few seconds every few kilometers to build a 35 second buffer on Tour leader Stone. After a huge pull from Ralston, Stone eventually crossed the line 44 seconds, nearly catching Rooubal and saving his podium spot in the process.

Yankus took the win with McWilliams second, but they were aberrations for their teams. Behind Vipers took fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and tenth places thanks to heads-up rides from Brad Pauly, Trevor Gibney, Ted Schneider and Nate Benke. They also scored ninth, tenth and twelveth in the C pen with Sam Wittbrodt, Mike Reeves and James Gawecki. Hissssssss (scary Viper sound)

Team Points, All ‘Cats

Thanks to their strong C pen (and the dedication of two A Pen riders), the Tomcats scored 4 of the top 5 points tallies on the stage, with only Yankus from Wild Weasels elbowing his way in. The world waits with bated breath for race organizers to refresh the standings, though Yankus should be safely in yellow heading into Stage 4.

What’s Next

It’s a double weekend, folks. Saturday is the Red Flag omnium, with three short events back-to-back-to-back. Sunday’s Danger Close get back onto the road with a 43km “adjusted” field; As will be on MTB, Bs on gravel and Cs on road bikes.

Check out DIRTy Mitten Racing League’s NFS page for final points tallies, race paces and all the other important stuff! Having fun? Check out the store and buy stuff so we can afford this domain and website. Thanks.

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