It’s an historic night this Thursday, with the first ever miniSOL World Champion set to be crowned. Arielle Jean, Hunter Frank, Ryan Miller and a whole slew of riders are set to battle it out for the honor of wearing the rainbow jersey in 2017. After a stunning Tour, Arielle is a solid favorite, although based on recent form, it’s Frank that enters as the heavy favorite. The RBS rider stormed to erase his Stage One deficit to turn a Stage Two win into a GC triumph, and in doing so, placed a rather bold bull’s eye on his own back. Ryan Miller is expected to return to action as well, and the local papers pointed out that he’s been putting in some altitude training in recent days. Frank, too, has made a point of examining the well-travelled miniSOL course, watching for any changes after heavy rain this past weekend.
Jorden Wakeley enters the second stage of the old person’s Vuelta with a slender lead over Jeff Owens, with the Prodigal Son, Cam Owens, just a handful of seconds back. Barring disaster or other obligations, it’s a three horse race. The Owens will need to play a deft hand against Wakeley, with Cam likely the candidate to jump on the sword first.
There’s a mess of riders just around two minutes down, including Kyle Macdermaid, Cody Sovis, Jason Johnson, and John O’Hearn. It will be a fight for fourth, by the looks of it, and some of those riders may turn their attentions to the Mountain classification, which will be worth double points Thursday night. It’s the only bonus night for that classification, and current leader Cam Owens may have to sacrifice a few more seconds on GC to ensure he’s scoring high on The Boonenberg.
Susan Vigland should be able to spend some of her legs there as well, as she’s on the board for The Boonenberg and has a healthy lead on the women’s GC ahead of Lauri Brockmiller and Marie Voss. The next mark for Vigland may be to try for a top ten overall, a very possible, and even probable goal given her current form.
M22 and KEEN look healthy in the Team Competition, with ERSB and Hagerty down and looking up. For M22, the fate of that classification rests as much on riders like Chad Jordan as it does with Jorden Wakeley; with the current red jersey and Jeff Owens posting the fastest times, it’s the gaps between the second riders from each team that will make the difference. For Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing, the loss of Ryan Kennedy to injury and Luke Tjosvold to employment means the scoring falls to Cody Sovis, Wes Sovis, and a flying Craig Fortuna. They’ve been supported with incredible effort by Mike Walters, who rode a brilliant opening stage for the team.
A reminder that Speed of Light is on fall hours, with the ride leaving Ec at 6.15 or rolling through the Bunker Hill Parking Lot around 6.30. It will stay on this time for the rest of the season, which ends September 15 with the Speed of Light World Championships.