Two laps and everything still to play for on the toughest night of Speed of Light. It’s like Christmas. It’s like Easter. It’s like Halloween. But it’s harder, bike-related and has nothing to do with any Christian or pagan holiday.
The Queen Stage. La Tappa Reine. It’s here. The GC men and women will be on full alert for the fourth and final stage of the Tour Competition. Instead of a 40 minute drag race of 11.6 miles, the finale turns into a 23 mile, nearly hour and a half race that is longer than big events like Mud, Sweat and Beers and sniffs the older, shorter distances of the Iceman Cometh days of yore.
Alex Vanias enters the stage with a big lead of 1:37, but if there’s a day that could see such a lead disappear, it’s over the 23 miles and 2,000+ feet of elevation. Ryan Kennedy is the rider looking to cover that gap, and he’ll ride with the support of the deepest team in the race. Kyle Macdermaid and Chris Kushman will do battle for the final podium spot. Kushman is just 8 seconds down on Macdermaid, and he’ll pair with both Kennedy and a deep stable of riders that includes Jason Lowetz, Jason Whittaker, Craig Fortuna and Cody Sovis.
It’s Kennedy also looking to hold his lead in the green points jersey, while Einstein also has Luke Tjosvold in the polka dot jersey and with a solid lead.
Rob Goepfrich holds the white jersey for Best Old Rider, and he’ll call on teammate Lars Welton and Susan Vigland to pace him around the course, even if he only needs to finish to take the title. Hagerty is sitting third in the Team Competition, and they’ll make it a point of pride to put in a solid ride to cap off the Tour and stay in the podium position.
Vanias and Women’s GC leader Kaitlyn Patterson have delivered Team OAM into second in the Team Competition, another feather in the proverbial cap for the duo after a great spring and summer of SOL and open races. Patterson also hold a two minute buffer to keep her 8th place overall position, a worthy spot to defend.
Stage Four leaves Einstein Cycles at 6:30pm Thursday or 6:45 from the Bunker Hill Parking Lot. Riders not currently on the GC can do two laps, but it is at the rider’s own discretion. No single lap times will be recorded.
Next week, it’s the first of the WorldTour race since June, with the all-new Team Time Trial. The fastest three times from each team will get added up for a total team time. It’ll be worth double points for each rider on that team that scores in the top twenty!