SOL

The KOM Competition takes center stage on the second day of racing.

Current race leader Alex Vanias will have to make his first decision of the Tour. With a safe but never secure lead on GC and a determined field nipping at the back of his Giros, he’ll have to decide just how much the Mountains classification means to his Tour run. The Boonenberg will be worth double points Thursday, and with the Tour hitting the halfway mark at the conclusion of the day, half the points on offer will already be distributed.

Indeed, his 41 second buffer over Ryan Kennedy is just enough to play with, and the race will hit the Boonenberg at full steam. The short, steep climb has seen gaps opened between the favorites, and it should play into the hands of riders looking to move up little by little on the overall classification.

Kennedy has the full disposal of the team, with teammate Chris Kushman also protected. Riders like Jason Whittaker, Jason Lowetz and Cody Sovis have already been enlisted to ride in support and service of the Killer Ks. Kyle Macdermaid, Eric Grassa and Craig Webb should certainly benefit from the mobilization of the Einstein Racing squad, though exactly what Thursday will bring is anyone’s guess. Macdermaid has looked especially tough on gears after taking a convincing win in the SS Competition at the Giro. Webb stands as Hagerty’s big hope and their top time setter for the Team Competition. He leads the Best Old Rider Competition, a title he’ll likely cede to teammate Rob Goepfrich as a result of a trip to the actual Tour later this month.

Kaitlyn Patterson leads the women’s race, with second placed rider Heidi Jones slated to miss Stage Two. Interestingly, the Patterson has helped Vanias put their Team OAM into second place in the Team Competition behind Einstein Racing, with Hagerty Cycling and McLain Race Team looking up after the first stage.

The green jersey competition will play second fiddle until the third week, but it will still be very much on the radar of Keegan Myers and Vanias as well. The massive influence of the Truee de Madeleine has changed how the Power Section is ridden in 2015; so often, the gaps are already wide open and need only to be inched wider, opposed to the face-to-face, bare-knuckle attacks of years prior. It seems ages ago since we were witness to the trackstanding, drag racing showdown between Bennett Paul and Scott Luca for the Giro title in 2013, or even the stealthy attacks at speed from Ty Schmidt at the Vuelta just last fall.

Stage Two leaves Einstein Cycles at 6.30pm, or the Bunker Hill Parking Lot at 6.45pm.