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Natron is seeing red after a tactical first stage, but Ty Schmidt is lurking and looking tough. 

There was a touch less firepower on the line as area racers stay fresh for the X100 Saturday, but those on the line have Vuelta victory squarely in their sights. Ty Schmidt, 2013 Tour winner and the champion of this year’s Giro, is looking to become the first rider to have won all three Grand Tours, and he started off with a very solid chance to do so. 

Schmidt tore away over the first few climbs with St. Onge and Jason Lowetz in tow. Behind, Cody Sovis bridged up, dropping a group of four but bringing Hagerty’s ageless wonder Hal BeVier into the lead group as well. The quartet made it over Woodchip Hill together, with Sovis dangling onto the Power Section and making contact 150 yards into the 3 mile section. Sovis and St. Onge put in a few moves, but with Schmidt looking more than comfortable, Sovis settled in to pull the leaders over the last half mile of the Power Section to take top sprint points and keep St. Onge comfortable as Lowetz sat up. 

With Sovis roundly shelled through the Saarlock Pit, the lead trio pulled away, with St. Onge flying on the descents and Schmidt dancing up the climbs. His efforts gave him the climber’s jersey over Hill On Iceman Course, and a great position in that competition. He’s four points clear of Sovis, and has another chance on Stage Three for double points on the same ascent. Joel Gaff and Jake Ellis also scored a healthy dose of KOM points, with Ellis making his SOL debut aboard a singlespeed 29er. 

Schmidt and St. Onge battled the rest of the way, with Nate sneaking away on the final downhill to take the stage win and five seconds over Schmidt, who did enough to make it a three-man race, with Hal BeVier still very much a threat to the overall. 

Behind, Jake Ellis, Joel Gaff, Jason Lowetz and Nathaniel Saldanha made up the rest of the GC contenders, but conceded over two minutes. They have a lot left to race for, with Ellis still in with a shot for the KOM jersey and some valuable WorldTour points. Lowetz can actually move into the top five on the WorldTour with a top five finish overall at the end of the Vuelta, if he can complete the Grand Tour. 

Stacy Smith, Emma, and Heidi Schwab were the only women starters, and their battle will come down to who can show up the most consistently. Heidi Jones and Trisha Manion are the only women to finish a Grand Tour, with Jones completing the Giro this spring and Manion winning the Women’s Tour this summer. It’s a short but illustrious list, and both Smith and the Schwabs should have ambitions to join them. 

Stage Two offers double points for the Sprint competition, and the promise of some heavy-hitters returning to the fray after the X100. Watch for Ryan Kennedy, Sean Kickbush, Keegan Myers and others to go after the Power Section, and the peloton will bid a farewell to Jason Whittaker, who will make his final SOL start of 2014. 

GC

Rider Stage One Stage Two Stage Three Stage Four Total Time
Nate St. Onge 0:41:33       0:41:33
Ty Schmidt 0:41:37       0:41:37
Hal BeVier 0:41:58       0:41:58
Cody Sovis 0:42:28       0:42:28
Nathaniel Saldanha 0:44:04       0:44:04
Jason Lowetz 0:44:04       0:44:04
Joel Gaff 0:45:27       0:45:27
Jake Ellis 0:45:29       0:45:29
Yensen Schwab 0:45:45       0:45:45
Andrew Dyke 0:47:00       0:47:00
Heidi Schwab 0:47:01       0:47:01
Bennett Paul 0:51:00       0:51:00
Jason Walter 0:51:07       0:51:07
Jason Jones 0:52:00       0:52:00
Dennis Aurand 0:57:37       0:57:37
Matt Grove 0:57:37       0:57:37
Michael Grove 0:57:38       0:57:38
Stacy Smith 0:57:43       0:57:43
Todd LaBonte 1:00:35       1:00:35
Jay Ellis 1:00:50      

1:00:50

KOM

Rider Stage One Stage Two Stage Three Stage Four Total Points
Ty Schmidt 20       20
Cody Sovis 16       16
Joel Gaff 12       12
Jake Ellis 8       8
Jay Ellis 4       4
Jason Walter 2       2

Sprint

Rider Stage One Stage Two Stage Three Stage Four Total Points
Cody Sovis 10       10
Ty Schmidt 8       8
Jake Ellis 6       6
Joel Gaff 4       4
Jason Walter 2       2

Team Competition

Team 1.1 1.2 2.1 2.2 3.1 3.2 4.1 4.2 Total Time
Einstein Racing 0:41:33 0:42:28             1:24:01
Hagerty Cycling 0:41:58 0:44:04             1:26:02