The Giro Competition is underway, but could it already be over?
Thursday’s first Speed of Light of 2015 offered no careful easing in, with demonstrative efforts by the “It” couple of the moment, Alex Vanias and Kaitlyn Patterson. “The Lion of LeRoy” and Patterson both took stage victories and hold solid margins in the general classifications after the opening salvos have been fired and as the dust only just begins to settle.
The new route was certainly testing enough, but it was on the original opening mile that a lead group made the gaps. Cody Sovis was steady on the front with Vanias, City Bike’s Tom White and Josh Zelinski, and Craig Webb making the selective ascent of the Vasa CC Climb and making the turn onto Madeleine’s Trail with a good margin over Ty Schmidt, who was left in no man’s left and chasing hard.
The first SOL on Madeleine’s did not disappoint; if Tom Boonen has his Tainnenberg, Fabian Cancellara his Oude Kwaremont, then Alex Vanias has his Madeleine’s Trail. He put in his first big effort of the day on the flat section that runs to the base of a short climb, and promptly opened a massive gap. Cody Sovis responded and opened a gap of his own to the remaining three, but Vanias was piling the distance on even on Sovis’ terrain.
It was over bar the shouting before the race had even hit the Power Section, but a 100 yard detour saw Vanias off course and suddenly chasing Sovis, Zelinski, and White, with Craig Webb bridging back on. Again, Vanias came around and drove away using is elite-level time trial talents. Sovis tried to limit the losses, but ceded time, even with a helpful boost from a willing Zelinski.
Behind, Kaitlyn Patterson used the KOM of the day, the Boonenberg, to renew the situation from Mud, Sweat and Beers; Patterson up the road with Lauri Brockmiller pairing with a former teammate, this time Laura Webb, to try and bring her back. Patterson held on to take the win and will carry a twenty second lead into Stage Two. Webb will be second, with Brockmiller lingering under a minute back and ever-dangerous.
Patterson also holds the distinction of becoming the first woman to ever score points in jersey competition, finished 5th on the Boonenberg. Vanias took full points, with Webb, Zelinski and Schmidt opening their accounts in the KOM competition.
Vanias holds every jersey he is eligible for after tying the record on the Power Section, with the same quadruplet of riders scoring and in the same order for the Sprint. The Sprint competition will take center stage next week for double points, and it’ll be interesting to see if the field focuses on that rather than try to make up the big gap already there on the GC.
Webb is in the driver’s seat in the Best Old Rider competition, with teammate Rob Goepfrich next in line.
City Bike’s outstanding showing gives them a solid lead in the team competition and two riders in the top five. White and Zelinski delivered over a minute lead ahead of Einstein Racing’s top two times of the day coming in from Sovis and the resurgent Nate St. Onge. Hagerty sits third, with McLain not fielding enough riders to qualify.
In two weeks’ time, we may be talking about just how exciting the Singlespeed race is finishing up. With the open GCs looking like they could be wrapped up with another great week from Vanias and Patterson, Kyle Macdermaid’s 13 second lead over Jason Whittaker, with Jake Ellis not far off the pace, could be the most interesting battle in the next few weeks to come.
No matter the lead, there are three weeks left to survive for the leaders and no shortage of ambitious riders ready to pounce.
To see the full standings, click here.