The final Grand Tour of the 2013 season comes to a close with the Queen Stage.
La Tappa Reina is on deck, and there’s an awful lot on the line for race leader Jorden Wakeley. He has a healthy lead going into the last stage, but Einstein Racing will have a full compliment of riders on hand to help Jason Lowetz take top honors. With the time gap looking almost insurmountable, Lowetz may have to be contented with stage honors. However, if done right, that could be enough.
There will be 30, 20 and 10 second time bonuses on the line, enough to change the balance of the race if there’s a good gap back from the winner. Course conditions are improving, with the biblical sand levels lowering slightly, which might open up the race to more racers. Keep an eye on Ty Schmidt and Chris Kushman if these conditions persist.
Sean Kickbush will also make his debut on a 29er, and if he has the handling, should figure in the finale. The big question mark is Keegan Myers. The phenom of 2013 is on course to take a podium finish for the Vuelta, but he’s admitted that a stage win comes first. He’ll be riding aggressive and take a few chances. With his gap back from Wakeley, he should be given a little leash, though not much, as Lowetz will have to defend his second place.
Steve Andriese will be looking for a solid finish to move into the top five in the GC, and his Hagerty teammates Jake Ellis, Cody Sovis and Wes Sovis have vowed to do anything and everything they can to help out. If the Sovis Brothers stay in touch early, they could be a big help over the Power Section, while Ellis has been dynamite this Vuelta on all parts of the course.
The final stage also serves as a great tune-up for next week’s World Championships, which concludes the Speed of Light season with a race for the rainbow jersey.
Speed of Light leaves the shop at 6.15 tonight, 6.30 from the 25km Lot.