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The 2013 Speed of Light Tour Competition is on the horizon, with a lot of contenders for the race’s myriad competitions. 

Four four weeks, the cream of the crop will be on hand to battle for bragging rights on the Speed of Light Ride. Much like the hotly-contested Giro Competition in May, the Tour Tour edition is perhaps the truest test of mettle and pedal  you’ll find. You can’t be good once, or a few times. Riders looking to make a mark on the general classification will need to be on top of their game each stage to have any hope at the title.

Giro winner Bennett Paul will be returning to the SOL after a week of recovery. After using West Branch,  Le Tour de Mount Pleasant and the Cherry-Roubaix as preparation, he’s got the racing in his legs with another massive target in his sights. He’s the heavy favorite after his dramatic win in May, and he’ll be gunning for the Giro-Tour double, a prestigious feat.

His nemesis and teammate, Scott Luca, is also on board for July, this time armed with the knowledge of Paul’s tactics. They’ll need some cohesion this time, however, as other teams are sending strong riders committed to the general classification. Especially Ryan Kennedy not in the GC running, Einstein will need all hands on deck to keep the stage race win in the team.

Hagerty Cycling has expressed a desire to challenge for the overall this week, and proved it by sending Craig Webb to this past week’s final tune-up. Webb has been on-form all season and rides into the Tour with a Cherry-Roubaix Omnium win in which he won two Master’s races in the process. He’ll be greatly encouraged if his squad can support him with the likes of Steve Andriese as a co-leader. Hagerty also sends Dave Bucholtz and Cody Sovis as GC hopefuls.

Einstein’s squad is deep, and they will need Ty Schmidt to be his normal fast self if they hope to take the Team Competition. Ty is a GC threat as well, and armed with Bennett Paul, could put the team in great position to defend a lead if Stage One goes according to plan. Combined with Jason Whittaker and Jason Lowetz, Einstein is capable of packing the top ten with pink jerseys.

Webb may also take the Best Old Rider Competition, though it will draw the attention of Rob Goepfrich, Gary Chastain and a number of other old vets committed to taking on the four stage battle. If they can work together, the trio may just have a chance against Webb, who is absolutely flying at the moment.

McLain Cycles’ new Race Team was looking golden after Stage One in May, but gave way the next two stages to fall over thirty minutes behind in the Team Competition by the final stage. They’ll need the very best out of Shawn McNamara and Shawn Luca, and performances from Eric Grassa or Jack Kline certainly wouldn’t hurt either.

The wildcard for the Team Competition might just be Hagerty’s Wes Sovis. He won’t try for the GC, but he is looking to take as many sprinter’s points as possible en route to placing for the team competition. Should Webb or Andriese skip a stage, he’ll work with Bucholtz and the other members of the squad to put up the best time possible. He’ll stick with his cyclocross bike for the month of July in preparation of the Ithaca GP in September.