As always, the Giro is a battle of attrition, with just eleven riders completing all four stages.
Alex Vanias and Kaitlyn Patterson took home the first Grand Tour titles of the year Thursday night in the Giro Finale. With Laura Webb and Lauri Brockmiller out of the GC, Patterson’s runner-up was Heidi Jones, the most consistent woman rider in Speed of Light history, now again on a podium through sheer perseverance.
Vanias made it a clean sweep of the Giro with a late charge to take the stage after an elite selection tore the field asunder in the opening miles of the Finale. Vanias, Ryan Kennedy, Craig Webb, Sean Kickbush and second placed GC rider Cody Sovis made the first break, with Luke Tjosvold and Mike Powers recovering and making contact as well.
Sovis was obviously not on a good day and was tailed off three times, with Vanias sportingly pulling him back into touch over the Power Section. Mercy wasn’t enough as Sovis was dropped across the Power Line Crossing. A freak cloudburst turned the Power Section into a soggy morass, with the lead group flying through the mud and mashing to greener, drier pastures on the far side of the Wall Bypass.
Vanias was calm and collected late, springing ahead to take stage honors ahead of the chasing Kennedy, Kickbush and Webb. He’s the first rider to sweep all four stages of a Grand Tour, as well as the first rider to win the GC, KOM and Sprint jerseys in one Tour.
The Sprint Competition ended with Vanias 14 points clear of Sovis, with Kickbush third. The margin in the KOM Competition was the same, with Kennedy second and Keegan Myers making the most of his second place finish on the KOM stage to finish third.
Rob Goepfrich will be thankful Alex isn’t over 45 years old, as it at least let someone else win something in the month of May. He takes the Best Old Rider Competition over Keith Conway. Kyle Macdermaid outlasted the field to bring home the Singlespeed Competition solo, the first person to win that particular race.
Einstein Racing will have to settle for another Team Competition win, keeping their streak of perfection alive after an early scare from City Bike Shop. The blue and white pinstripes stopped showing up and lost their lead, then their finish on Stages Three and Four.
The WorldTour picture should look very Greek, with Vanias looking for essentially full points ahead of a dynamic June. Riders will get double points over the next four weeks’ theme nights. The Classics include Fat Bike Night, Singlespeed Night. Cyclocross Night and Ladies’ Night this month.