2019 Speed of Light Giro Competition p/b up.bike Stage One: Owens, Schwab Lead

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After a morning and afternoon spent playing the guessing game, the call was ‘Go!’ for Stage One of the Giro Competition. Speed of Light is underway.

Riding in a misty haze to the start, it was a small but hearty crew to toe the line for the first night of the seventh year of SOL. That misty haze, otherwise known as ‘10% chance of rain’, may have kept some riders home, but the core SOLers were there and smiling. Maybe it was fitting that the drizzle stopped before the actual SOL start, and riders enjoyed incredibly fast conditions to kick off 2019.

Resplendent in his fresh World Champion jersey, Kyle Macdermaid headlined a compact but powerful line-up that included Vuelta winner Sam Holmes, John O’Hearn, Jeff Owens, and a slew of kolo t.c. riders including Dan Ellis, Wes Sovis, Andy Weir, Jeff Galstererererer, Neil Vajda, and Norte (and kind of kolo) Brad Pauly. The one and only woman on the line is one of the fastest of spring, Emma Schwab. The newly-admitted BREE-varD scholar didn’t blink an eye at the quick company and, with the women’s GC assured, emptied the tank to set the women’s course mark for the season.

And it was precisely on the new section of the course where things shook up. After the traditional start (Cody takes the holeshot by default, mostly because people are just being nice) that saw John O’Hearn vacuum up top Mountains points ahead of Dan Ellis, the new turn onto the 10km and the long, cruel drag to Special K stretched the elastic. A subtle shift from Owens saw it snap; first Ellis, then O’Hearn and Macdermaid ceded ground, with Cody Sovis able to keep the wheel and then drive the pace over the top of the 10km drag and onto Special K. Sovis and Owens gave it a wink and a nod and prised open the gap, with the rest of the field in neat pairs and quartets behind.

With powerhouses like Weir, Wes Sovis, and Marc Brunette behind, neither of the two lead groups were safe. Even a concerted effort from Sovis and Owens could only find around a one minute lead heading into Anita’s. Owens cruised clear to take the stage win and the maglia rosa, with Sovis handing over 7 seconds. Macdermaid and O’Hearn sit just over a minute back.

Emma Schwab sets the new women’s record on the new course, but her putting in top rides this spring is certainly not new. After her rides at Yankee Springs and MSB, we’re pumped to see what she does this summer at SOL; her 41:22 time last night is going to take some beating.

O’Hearn leads the Mountains classification ahead of Dan Ellis, but that’s a matter that won’t really see too much focus until next week, when the Vasa CC Climb is worth double points. It was Cody Sovis taking the double points on offer over the Power Section last night. He’s vowed that his main goal here is to repeat his maglia ciclomino win from last year, and he’s off to a good start so far.

Jeff G leads the Best Old Rider Classification, and his kolo t.c. squad have an early lead over Keen Racing in the Team Competition. Our squad had the biggest turnout, and there’s a new found depth for 2019, with Wes Sovis, Andy Weir, Neil Vajda, and Jeff G all showing strong form.

Next week, it’s one for the climbers, and we’ll see if Macdermaid and O’Hearn can claw back a bit more time.

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You can see the Giro standings right here.

The file for the new course is right here, so you can load it onto your GPS unit of choice.

That ‘new’ section of the course? It’s two turns. Kyle filmed it so you can see it for yourself. Thanks, K-Mac!