Shades, we think, of the 2011 Tour de France. If Wakeley serves as race leader incumbent Cadel Evans, then the father-son duo of Jeff and Cam Owens might be the Schlecks, balancing ambitions to challenge for the win with not dropping each other in the process.
At least after Stage Two, the pair won’t have much to worry about from behind on GC, with the podium of the race jumping away almost immediately at the start and never once looking like getting caught. Indeed, the lack of a chase turned into a chess match for the riders now forced to be content with a possible fourth place. As both Owens and Wakeley met the Power Section and scampered off, the gap was already nearing a minute back to the group containing Kyle MacDermaid, John O’Hearn and Cody Sovis, with Kent McNeil making the selection as well in the GC crowd. Tom White and Braiden Voss, with no GC concerns, were strong on the front, with White doing the bulk of the effort early. Only a late show of willingness from Cody Sovis over the second half of the Power Section saw much cooperation, but White repaid the group with a scintillating attack before the Wall Bypass.
Behind, Wes Sovis and Mike Walters were showing their mettle, with Walters using the liquid courage of Short’s Space Rock to put in some massive pulls on the front. The women’s GC stayed tight as well, with Susan Vigland unable to shake a persistent Lauri Brockmiller. They’ll have to settle it in the finale next week, with Brockmiller looking to make up some time.
If Cam Owens can’t take the Vuelta win, he’s looking simply golden to win both the Mountains and Points classifications. The double rewards on the Boonenberg saw him take all 20, and he’s six points clear of Jeff with just a stage to go. Things are tighter on the sprint side, and that will be tough to defend with the final stage worth double points over the Go! segment.
Rob Goepfrich looks to be heir apparent in the Best Old Rider category, with Rob Frank set to miss the final stage. The timeless Lars Welton, ever a class act, is sportingly in there and ready to help Rob and Susan in their own efforts.
In the Team Competition, Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing is missing their top two scorers in Luke Tjosvold and Ryan Kennedy. The Sovis and Sovis pairing hasn’t lived up to expectations, sits in last after two. M22 and KEEN will have to sort the win out between themselves in the finale.