What little hope remained of unseating the pink jersey went up in a cloud of dust over the new Madeleine’s Trail section on Stage Two, with Vanias now focused on wider goals.
Entering as sure favorites, Alex Vanias and Kaitlyn Patterson now have some serious breathing room and the contenders have all but settled for second place. After a demonstrative effort on Stage Two, Vanias now can look to sweeping all the competitions that he is eligible for, and took a big step in the Sprint competition with double points on the Power Section and almost doubling up second place as the race hits the second half of its four stages.
Vanias once again used Madeleine’s Trail to cement his lead. From the gun, Sean Kickbush took affairs into hand over the Vasa CC Climb, with Luke Tjosvold putting in a quick, testing move on the front as well. Vanias came to the fore on the second to last climb before Madeleine’s and immediately opened a gap, with Kickbush ready on the wheel and Cody Sovis scrambling to make it across.
Once the lead trio took the turn, it was Vanias taking center stage. Almost immediately, he took a 10 second lead before Madeleine’s turned upward, with Kickbush trying to claw his way across and Sovis languishing behind. Resigned, Kickbush settled onto Sovis’ wheel as the pair went in search of the leader over the Power Section. Vanias was gone for the day, while Tom White and Luke Tjosvold sitting about 20 second behind Kickbush and Sovis.
Kaitlyn Patterson used each and every climb to test her rival in Lauri Brockmiller, and it was enough to extend her GC lead after two stages. Her 42:42 was even good enough to pair with Vanias and put their OAM team into third place in that competition. Patterson is nearing two and half minutes clear of Brockmiller, who is putting some solid rides in for CBS.
Vanias took full points and extended his lead in the KOM competition as well, with Sovis second and Kickbush third on the day. The KOM competition will be double points next week, and it’ll be interested to see if Alex can stay perfect on the Boonenberg in 2015. He’s already well ahead, but the points total should certainly help if he is looking for the WorldTour title by the end of the year.
The Singlespeed race couldn’t be much closer, with Kyle Macdermaid taking the stage win for the SSers, with Jason Whittaker fighting tooth and nail to limit his losses and with hopes of making a move over the next two stages. Macdermaid is looking very tough and holds 19 seconds over Whittaker, who experimented with a taller gear ratio this week. That is the competition that should be very entertaining as Vanias looks set to clean house elsewhere.
The only jersey Vanias doesn’t have is one he isn’t eligible for, the white jersey of Best Old Rider. With Craig Webb a non-starter on Stage Two (something about an anniversary) the lead falls to teammate Rob Goepfrich. He’s sitting with a comfortable lead with two stages to go and some solid times to start off his Grand Tour run. He also has teammate Lars Welton in reserve, should he need any support in the coming weeks.
Einstein Racing moved into the Team Competition lead with a very close 14 second gap over City Bike Shop. Einstein Racing will rely heavily on the return of Ryan Kennedy next week to hold onto the slender margin, while Team OAM now is relatively safe in third place, 8 minutes clear of fourth.
The Men’s GC is over bar a disaster, and one no one would like to see. Vanias is sitting 4:23 clear of new second placed rider Cody Sovis, with Tom White a further 41 seconds back in third. Josh Zelinski and Nate St. Onge round out the top five, with last year’s Giro winner Ty Schmidt in a position to sneak in with a good ride late.
Stage Three of the Giro Competition is next Thursday, May 21. It’ll be all eyes on the Boonenberg, with double points for the KOM competition. Alex Vanias can wrap up the sprint and KOM competitions by taking first next week, though with riders so far behind, he may find a number of riders targeting those segments and perhaps sacrificing some time on GC.
You can view the full Giro picture here.