With only Craig Webb in the hunt at the Tour, Hagerty plays it cool heading into a big Vuelta.
Team organization isn’t panicking after a lackluster performance in July. Hagerty Cycling held a brief conference to address questions from the press Sunday, just a day after taking multiple podiums at the X100 at Ranch Rudolf. With fresh podiums in their pockets, including an impressive 1-2-3 in the women’s Singletrack 50 miler with Lauri Brockmiller, Rachel Decker and Sandra Dunn, team brass is confident heading into the final Grand Tour Competition of the season.
“July wasn’t great, but we have big plans for the fall and the Vuelta is a part of that. We’re going to be there and we want to win a jersey or two, and obviously the GC is big for us as well,” said senior infrastructure development manager Tim Jenema.
The Tour saw only Craig Webb in the hunt overall, and the veteran was often alone in a swarm of Einstein Racing jerseys. He was eventually withdrawn on the final stage due to “other stuff going on”, which raised concerns about a hushed-up positive drugs test. Webb has laid low since, running to Colorado and adopting tight green clothing as a way to cope. If he is available for Stage One, he’ll immediately return to being Hagerty’s top option, green skinsuit or not.
The long list of candidates to ride as team leader includes Brent Wiersma, Dave Bucholtz, Steve Andriese, Tim Jenema and Ross Williams. All of these riders will have to commit to four full weeks, something few from Hagerty have been capable of at the Giro or the Tour this season. Cody Sovis enters as the team’s most consistent rider, but consistently outside the top ten doesn’t do them much good. “Sovis’ best quality is that he shows up. He shows up a lot, he shows up hard, and that’s really great, just great,” commented Jenema.
The answer may come in the form of Hagerty’s very-tough women’s team. To date, no woman is attended all stages in a Grand Tour, meaning the Women’s crown is vacant. With a roster that includes Melissa Ryba, Bridgit Widrig, Lauri Brockmiller, Sandra Dunn, Rachel Decker and plenty more, Hagerty should be able to field a solid squad, if those women can be coaxed out to the trail.
With green jersey winner Pete Skellenger on the move (he is either moving to Detroit or signing with Movistar), Hagerty will target the green jersey with either Webb, Andriese or Sovis. After the drubbing of July, they’ll be happy to make any mark on Stage One, especially if it’s in the form of the first ever Women’s yellow jersey.
Racing starts this Thursday, August 29, with four stages taking place on a weekly basis. The winner will be crowned just a week before the inaugural Speed of Light World Championships on September 26.