The first ever Tour Competition goes to the pride of Canada, Ty Schmidt.
Einstein Racing kept firm hold on its Grand Tour prowess by taking home its second win of the season. After Bennett Paul won the Giro in May, Einstein fielded a full compliment of riders with aims to take another overall win. After his win on Stage One, the burden of leadership fell on the slight shoulders of Ty Schmidt, with the whole team rallying to defend a one second advantage.
In a surprise that came just before the final stage, Hagerty Cycling announced that it was pulling Craig Webb from competition, effective immediately. Shortly thereafter, a slew of similar announcements from various other camps were heard, including calls from the agents of Nate St. Onge, Eric Pollard, Bennett Paul and Jason Lowetz. Only minutes later, KOLOTV, our television syndicate, broke the story that a raid had found ‘suspicious materials’ in the vehicle of one Dr. Michael Porshe. A quick connecting of the dots revealed that nearly every rider who failed to start had been working with Dr. Porshe in recent weeks. In all, seven riders failed to start, with excuses varying from family in town, plague, sickness and dogs eating bike shoes. kolo t.c. would like to reiterate that none of these riders have tested positive for any banned substance, however, the proceedings put the entire event under a shroud of suspicion.
The action on the trail, however, was hot and heavy. Sean Kickbush brought out the much-anticipated debut of Keegan Myers to the front of affairs, while the GC men took a somewhat measured and cautious start onto the VASA CC Climb. The elite selection was made over the second crest, with the familiar names of both Kushmans, Schmidt, Skellenger, Ryan Kennedy and Jason Whittaker up the road, with Cody Sovis and Tim Jenema taking matters into their hands after a failed dig from Myers was reeled in.
Kennedy opened up a gap with Skellenger chasing, while Schmidt road quick but smart through the deep pockets of sand and twisting corners heading toward the Power Section. By the time the leaders made the transition to the flats, they held a sizable gap over the Jenema-led chase group. Once on to the Power Section, Sovis took over, quickly gapping the group and bridging to Jason Whittaker, the front-running fat biker on the trail. The duo held off the chasers, where a massive pile-up involving Sean Kickbush and Myers threw the group into disarray. Jenema, Lars Welton and John Ammond made it through in the best shape, with Kickbush and Myers losing a big chunk of time. Wes Sovis was momentarily held up, but rode steady the rest of the way to finish his first SOL since May.
With Chris Kushman and Skellenger in check late, Schmidt was able to enjoy his victory after keeping pace on the VASA Power Section. Ryan Kennedy blazed away to his first stage win, confirmed the expectations he faced upon rejoining the competition on Stage 2. He’s going to be a big favorite heading into the fall and, of course, the World Championships, one of his bigger goals ahead of the Iceman Cometh.
In the absence of Webb, Dave Bucholtz slides into the Best Older Rider win, a healthy margin over Rob Goepfrich to add to his race’s haul. Bucholtz lost one place overall to teammate Cody Sovis on the last day, the only change in the GC not caused by the drugs raided mentioned earlier. Just 11 riders made it to Paris, after an initial start list that included no less than 36.
Chris Kushman took sole ownership of the KOM jersey on Stage Four, with Skellenger doing the same in the Points competition with a solid ride over the Power Section. Einstein Racing took two of the four jerseys and the Team Competition by 20 minutes, with Hagerty contented with the white jersey and its top riding finishing sixth overall after the retirement of Webb.
A big thanks to all the riders who showed up over the past five weeks, and a very special thanks to Jason Whittaker, who used his passion for spreadsheets to crunch all the numbers faster than most races do with chip timing. JW is a hero.
Stage Four Results
|John Fahey||0:44:21||Brick Wheels||MTB|
Final General Classification Standings
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|Week 4||Week 4||Total|
|Sprint||Week 4||Week 4||Total|
Best Old Rider Competition