The third stage of the 2014 Speed of Light Tour Competition brings double points for the climbers, and a big opportunity for Keegan Myers to chip away at his 25″ deficit to Ryan Kennedy.
The battle for the Mountains Classification takes center stage Thursday, with double points at the top of the Vasa CC Climb up for grabs. With four riders within four points at the top of the table, nothing is certain as the race hits the final two stages. Currently on top is Jason Whittaker with 20 points, but his teammate Ryan Kennedy and Keegan Myers are both tied in second place just two points down. Green jersey wearer Tyler Kelly sits a further two points down with 16, and he’ll be looking for the full 20 points to close the gap. The double points also mean bigger points gaps, and if he takes first over the climb and Whittaker second, it would put them on level points. That means both will be relying on teammates to sweep up points. Whittaker is not looking to defend his sixth place overall, so he’ll be all in for the first few miles of the stage and then relying on teammates to get him across the Power Section and home to finish off the day.
Kelly is also looking for a podium place for the Tour, sitting not too far behind third placed Luke Tjosvold. No one is going to spring much further, though, with Keegan Myers and Ryan Kennedy well ahead, but themselves separated by less than half a minute. Myers will need to take even a few second back Thursday to ease the pressure he’ll have on the final day of racing, the Queen Stage, on July 31. For the first time, racers still on the GC will take on two laps, a feat that already has riders worried.
This is another big week for the very close battle for the white jersey, which is currently led by Scott Luca, just a handful of seconds ahead of Lars Welton, with Rob Goepfrich down but certainly not out. Riders know no position is decided until the final stage, and with massive time gaps expected, even a minute deficit could be wiped out on Stage Four.
The green jersey should stay in the hands of Tyler Kelly after another blistering, double points day last week. He sits six points clear of race leader Ryan Kennedy, with Cody Sovis and Keegan Myers another six points back from second with 16. To lose green, Kelly would have to miss scoring points in the final two stages, a long shot considering his great tactical riding and brute force along the Power Section.
Trisha Manion has the women’s GC locked up, she’ll just need to safely circumnavigate the course a total of three more times at her usual pace to stay clear of second place rider Morgan Johnson. Johnson is in her first year of mountain biking and has already taken something like ten minutes off her first Speed of Light time.
Stage Three starts from Ec at 6.30pm on Thursday, or the Vasa 25km Lot at 6.45pm.