The Speed of Light WorldTour sees Cody Sovis in a commanding lead heading into the final Grand Tour of the season, with the Eric Pollard Memorial Classic Challenge.
With much of the field wearing baggy clothing in honor of Eric Pollard, who is not dead, it was a smaller crew, but still roughly 30 riders on the start line. Eric, freshly returned from da UP, threw a curveball by first wearing spandex, then randomly turning off into the woods about 100 yards into the ride. No idea where he went.
It was the same trio as last week initially, with Tom White, Jason Whittaker and Cody Sovis. With no one wanting to pull, Andrew Dyke, The Great White Hope, tagged back onto the back of the group, and once in touch, held his own for the rest of the way. Dyke’s amazing ride heralds a new era of young guns, led by Dyke but including Ian and Ryan Durand, Nathanial Saldanha, Heidi and Emma Schwab, and the full bulk of the Hagerty Junior team. Dyke’s ride brought to mind shades of one Nairo Quintana, impervious to attacks and changes in pace, and a calm, steady nerve late.
Sovis, still on a cyclocross bike as the sands mount, tried to break up the lead group over the Power Section, but the stop-start move yielded a slow time and no separation, leaving him on the back foot the rest of the ride. Tom White was again in the driver’s seat in the latter half of the course, pulling Whittaker away through the Saarlock Pit, with Dyke just barely off the move and Sovis floundering in the sand pit at a snail’s pace.
Whittaker kept his powder dry for a massive assault up Anita’s Hill, but White was back on the wheel almost immediately. Behind, Dyke survived and even countered two Sovis attacks, first up Hill on Iceman Course, then after Anita’s Hill. The young gun impressed all day, and he enters the Vuelta as a serious contender.
White held on to take a second SOL win, with Whittaker taking second points and double for his baggy look. Dyke reeled Sovis in on the final sandy turn, coming in for his first podium finish, with Sovis limping in fourth, but still gathering valuable points for the WorldTour.
Jason Walter has ducked under the 50 minute mark for Einstein as well, while the most heated battle of the season rolled on between Rob Goepfrich and Lars Welton. The pair finished separated by just three seconds, an exciting sign ahead of their renewed fight for the Best Old Rider title at the Vuelta.
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