2013 Northmen Cross - 37

Just two stages left, and this is the one that will decide the blue climber’s jersey once and for all. 

It’s double points again for Stage Three, but now it’s going all for the climbers. Indeed, it’s one for the tough riders capable of a flying start and great effort of the Vasa CC Climb.

The climb is really two in one, with the incline first starting as riders clear the woods and hit an open section of sand that traverses the powerlines. On the far side, the ascent begins in earnest, coming up over 5% just as riders lose momentum in the sand. It’s all out over the first peak before spilling down the backside and dead into another incline, this one steeper and tougher, though riders should have some speed when hitting the bottom.

With the GC looking relatively safe for current pink jersey wearer Ryan Kennedy, the other competitions are the best chance to take some solace from a Giro that has gone all the way of “Mr. President”. Now leading every competition he is eligible for, the Mountains classification is the best chance for other riders to take a jersey off the slender shoulders of the SOL specialist. He’s six points clear at the moment, with Ty Schmidt, Keegen Myers and teammate Cody Sovis all tied and poised to move up. Sovis could try and clear points with a strong ride, but Schmidt has been improving every week and could treat the climb as a way to get after Kennedy and perhaps close up time on the GC with a great ride.

The sprint competition isn’t over either, but at it’s normal 10,8,6,4,2 structure, it’ll be tough to make up ground on a flying lead group. Kennedy and Schmidt have scored in every sprint so far, and the only reason to think they may not is the expected return of Sean Kickbush, Keegan Myers and Jason Lowetz.

On the GC, the revelation of the Giro has been third placed Eric Grassa, who will look to hold onto his spot on the podium in the final two stages. As expected, the overall has been whittled down, and it’s expected perhaps only a dozen riders will survive to score WorldTour points by finishing.

Stage Three starts Thursday at 6.30pm from Einstein Cycles, or 6.45 from the Vasa 25km parking lot.