The miniSol riders began their Tour competition as well, with 10 racers heading out for their Stage 1 on the 5.11 mile lollipop course. Griffin Schwab of Hagerty surged to the lead at the start and initially strung out the group, only to find himself fading on the first big climb where the group came back together briefly before Hagerty’s Logan Keely launched a blistering attack that saw him pull away and never look back. From then on it was essentially a fat bike time trial for Logan, as he set a pace that quickly overtook a sightseeing Jason Lowetz and all too frequently flirted with violating the one cardinal rule of miniSol: “Thou Shalt Not Drop the Leadout Man.” Logan carried the stage with a time of 0:20:53, coming tantalizingly close to setting miniSol’s first-ever sub-20 minute time. Griffin Schwab and Arielle Jean formed a solid Hagerty chase group, coming in second and third respectively with solid times of 0:23:44 and 0:23:50 and a solid Hagerty sweep of the miniSol Tour Stage 1 podium. Abigail Jean and Peter Worden III rounded out Team Hagerty’s efforts.
Hagerty is presently in the lead for the miniSol Tour Team Competition, and Logan presently carries the most Green Jersey points, but all this could easily change as juniors who skipped Stage 1 for something as frivolous as the Cherry Festival kid’s parade (or because their parents just had to go see Vanilla Ice) rejoin the Tour in the coming weeks.
By far however the most interesting development was the emergence of a new junior team, MBS22, formed by RBS’s Hunter Frank and M22’s Maximus Jordan when each discovered himself without a teammate at the start line. Neither would comment on what led to the implosion of their previous teams’ junior squads, nor would either confirm rumors that their new squad is a last-minute wild card entry financed by none other than Oleg Tinkov. Oleg himself would only say during a press conference at the real Tour that “All I can tell you for now is those two guys were a heck of a lot less expensive than Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador, anything more I cannot say until after the Tour is over.” In any event the new squad put in a stellar performance and presently stands second in the team competition.
Coming in third in the team competition was Norte, a notable accomplishment given that Carter Schmidt and the rest of his usual Orange Brigade were not present; rumor has it they were busy decorating a float. But Norte’s Zack Gerlando, joined by his teammates (and first-time riders) Sophia and Porter Kochis, stepped to the plate. This despite Sophia’s wipe out in the sand pit which, she somberly reported after, actually resulted in her face touching the ground. Despite this setback the trio remained undaunted, largely riding the course together until the last stretch when Zack opened a two-minute lead over the Kochis siblings. And his dad, he ditched his dad too. Afterward it was all high fives and the entire Norte squad expressed optimism that it would continue on in the Tour, especially after it was explained the final Queen Stage will also feature ice cream at the end.