It was a golden send off for Ec’s Jason Whittaker, with his best performance ever on his final appearance. Things looked good from the go; Whittaker’s curtain call at Speed of Light started with a cheeky head start as he gave the ceremonial countdown to go. In spite of the threat of rain, a promise ultimately delivered as the riders headed for home, a hearty group of 50 were on hand to send off one of TC’s most valuable and helpful cyclists.
Whittaker took the hole shot and, even after teammate Cody Sovis pulled through, was right back to the front to stamp some authority on his final ride. A lead group of around ten survived the opening salvos of hills, with Jason Johnson, Mark Brunette, John O’Hearn, Luke Tjosvold and more tucked in. After a Sovis attack at the end of Madeleine’s went no where, it was all riders present and correct to the Power Section.
Steve Andriese and Sovis split the Power Section, with Andriese popping a few riders from the tail with a massive turn just past halfway. Johnson scurried back on after a crash, and Brunette also found himself back in touch before the Wall Bypass.
Dan Hofstra took the reigns going into the foot of the Boonenberg, putting on a masterclass in descending. On the climb, everyone choose to look each other over, a tentative sort of cease fire before the top. Over Anita’s, the line in sand (and that was a really deep line because of the dry summer) was drawn, with Hofstra, O’Hearn, Sovis and a flying Whittaker surviving over the top. Whittaker looked like he was in with a chance for the win, and Sovis led out as far as he could. Hofstra and O’Hearn were aggressive and crested the final descent bar-to-bar.
Whittaker rolled to the line third, a proud podium finish to end his SOL career. Andriese, Brunette, Tjosvold and others trickled in, but word quickly spread that it would be another costly day for Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing. After a bad crash that knocked him out of the Tour, Steve “Love Is A” Lagerquist was down again with a concussion, escorted out of the woods by teammate and just swell guy John Edingfield.
There were no big changes on the WorldTour standings, with Sovis and O’Hearn essentially matching each other in the Random Relay. The winning combination turned out to be Kasey Wierzba and Dan Ellis, 8 seconds ahead of Chris Garrock and Steve Andriese in second.
You can see the SOL results week-by-week here.
You can see the up to date WorldTour standings here.
And now, the miniSOL Report, brought to you by Norte! and Peter Worden’s bow tie.