The final Grand Tour of 2015 is underway, and Ryan Kennedy is looking like the big favorite after one stage. Alex Vanias was at home instead of the start line, putting health and results ahead of a free, non-sactioned, fake stage race this Thursday. So was Kaitlyn Patterson, who reportedly had a bad batch of spinach and was forced out the Vuelta before it began. It left the door wide open for those taking a run over the next four weeks, and Ryan Kennedy is making the very most of the opportunity. The former Tour winner is into the lead ahead of Austin Johnson and a slew of Einstein Racing teammates.
Cody Sovis was not one of those teammates, however. The Cherry-Roubaix winner (did you hear about that) was on the front at the start and suddenly gone with a broken spoke. Luckily, teammate Jeff Socia, who just happened to be riding home, handed over a gigantic bike. It became a study in the extremes of human anatomy, with the 5’9 Sovis hopping aboard the 6’4″ Socia’s MTB.
Way, way ahead, Ryan Kennedy was riding himself comfortably into a lead while his teammates blazed along behind. Austin Johnson offered up resistance for Hagerty Cycling amongst Luke Tjosvold, Jason Lowetz and Jason Whittaker. Johnson’s efforts put him into the lead in the sprint competition, a breakthrough performance and a good sign of his fitness ahead of the next four weeks. His teammate, Susan Vigland, rode her way into an unopposed lead in the women’s race, while Rob Goepfrich paired with Johnson to put Hagerty into second in the Team Competition.
It’s also Goepfrich sitting second in the Best Old Rider Competition behind import Rob Frank. We’ve also seen a resurgence in the Singlespeed Competition, with Kyle Macdermaid riding strong ahead of first-timer (and total natural) Craig Fortuna.
Stage Two sees Johnson under the gun, with double points on the Go! sprint section after Macdermaid took the full 20 on Stage One in the KOM Competition. Ryan Kennedy sits second for the Mountains, with Whittaker third there. Whittaker is second in the Sprint so far, with Lowetz third.
You can see the full Vuelta standings here.