With teammate Ty Schmidt in first by a lone second, The President’s return is key in holding of the flying Craig Webb.
The Einstein duo will enter Stage Two with strength in numbers, capable of tossing a small fleet to the front if need be to help Ty Schmidt stay golden in the Tour Competition. After missing Stage One while attending an altitude training camp in France, Kennedy is back and must be prepared to assist Ty in the run-in to the finish. With Nate St. Onge also sitting handsomely in third place, Kennedy has the quality to pull along both in hopes of furthering the podium.
Craig Webb will need all of his experience and his deep reserves of speed to overtake Schmidt, but there will be chances to do so this week. There will be time bonuses and extra points in the Points classification this week, meaning Craig could erase his one second deficit with a massive effort over the VASA Power Section. To that end, Kennedy, Schmidt and possibly Bennett Paul will need to control the pace as long as possible, and look to snatch up any time bonuses en route.
Rachel Decker is running away with the Women’s lead, and it will be interesting to see if she can stick with a group on Stage Two and put the race away. Chelsea Strate missed Stage One but should be making an appearance soon, at least giving Decker something to chase across the Power Section. Strate’s Beargrease could be called upon next week, as the sand on the course is reaching Biblical proportions. Jason Whittaker has been 100% fat bike since last spring, and he’s proven that it’s a very useful tool under the right rider.
Spencer Payne is leading the way for McLain Cycle, the team currently sitting in third place in the Team Competition. If they are behind, it’s through no fault of Payne, who put in a blistering ride on Stage One to split the group of Dave Bucholtz, Ryan Kushman, Jason Whittaker and Eric Pollard. If that group forms again on Stage Two, he won’t be given any leash in the final few miles, where he waltzed away to win what was, in effect, the field sprint. He’ll need better luck from his teammates Shawn Luca and Eric Grassa, though there are rumors that Shaun McNamara could make his SOL debut this month.
After a terrible, mechanical-ruined Stage One, the 1-2 Giro duo of Bennett Paul and Scott Luca now can target other objectives, including protecting teammates higher up on the GC. Don’t be surprised to see Paul and Luca helping the fast men early, and riding along as ticket collectors in groups later in the race. Paul has voiced intent to join forces with other Team Yellow compatriots, ignoring, for a time, trade team allegiance to put a Yellow rider into a points or mountains jersey podium. Scott Luca will probably just try to beat his brother, Shawn. They’ll be joined by an improving Jason Lowetz, who says he should feature in the front of the race for the rest of the Tour.
Hagerty-TOLaw U-25’s Wes Sovis may make an appearance on Stage Two as he prepares for a run at the Michigan Road Race State Championship on July 14. After serving as faithful domestique at the Cherry-Roubaix, he’ll get his shot at the title, just two years after finishing second place.
Stage Two of the Speed of Light Tour Competition starts at 6.30 from Einstein Cycles.
You can see the full, awesome footage of Stage One below.