The first red jersey goes out to Jorden Wakeley after the Giant of Grayling made a surprise start at the Speed of Light.
The opening salvo goes to Jorden Wakeley in what turned out to be one of the hottest, sandiest editions of the SOL yet. The temperature hovered near 90 degrees at the start, with riders nearly drenched before the gun had gone. It was a crowded start line, with the noticeable absence of Craig Webb, Dave Bucholtz, Jason Whittaker and a number of other riders who would have certainly left their mark. Such is the grind of a long season, and with so much to race for, it seemed as though it was a select few up for the task of four grueling weeks.
From the gun, Wakeley established himself as the man to beat, pulling away with only Jason Lowetz able to match the accelerations. The deep sand threw the peloton into disarray behind, with the very first sand pit causing a massive split from the top ten to the rest of the pack. Chris Kushman, Eli Brown, Ryan Kennedy, Keegen Meyers, Sean Kickbush, Steve Andriese and Ty Schmidt making the elite selection. Behind, Jake Ellis plowed along bravely in no man’s land, with Schad Whitehearse not too far off the pace with.
The big sprinter’s jersey sprint point came early in the race, and to almost no surprise, Chris Kushman set the top time on the nearly three mile flat and fast section. Even the Power Section was sandy and littered with pitfalls for the fast men. Indeed, the sand was perhaps than in any previous editions, much to the chagrin of the chasers. Kushman takes top points, with Jorden Wakeley, Keegan and Jason Lowetz all tied in second. Wakeley finished ahead on the line, giving him second officially in the competition, but all three will be equal on points.
The time on the line puts Lowetz one second behind Wakeley in the first stage, the very same time gap we saw after one stage at the Tour a month ago. Tour winner Ty Schmidt is already almost four minutes back, and he’ll look to help the squad any way that he can in the coming stages. Keegen Meyers sits just six seconds back from Lowetz in third place, and it already looks as though these three will be the ones doing battle in September. Chris Kushman is in fourth, a minute back from Meyers, though he may be contented to help the squad and protect his green jersey.
Wakeley also took the Mountain Competition lead, putting two seconds into Jason Lowetz, three seconds into Ty Schmidt, and one second further to both Chris Kushman and Keegen Meyers for the new top five in that category. The VASA CC Climb has been especially brutal with no less than three, increasingly deep sand pits to take on at the base of each of the two peaks.
Hagerty’s depth in experienced riders has given them a great headstart in the Best Old Rider Competition, with Steve “Dr. Pain” Andriese ahead of teammate Pete Worden. The pair look to be safe from assault, with Ed Johnson a few minutes back in third. Rob Goepfrich would have loved to be further up, but a very hard crash knocked him out of contention. A special acknowledgement to Hagerty-TOLaw U-25 rider Wes Sovis’ efforts to make sure Rob was okay after the crash. He wins the first-ever Most Sportsmanship Award for making sure a fellow human wasn’t dead. Great job, Wes.
We’re not doing a team competition for the Vuelta because it would already be over. Einstein would be over eleven minutes in the lead after one stage, with Hagerty in second but out of the picture.
Stage Two will feature one big time bonus, so be sure to check back next week to find out exactly where.
General Classification after Stage One
|7||SEAN KICKBUSH||0:43:10||fat bike|
|25||STACY SMITH||1:04:11||fat bike|
King of the Mountain Competition
Best Old Rider Competition