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It’s Wakeley’s jersey for the taking, but who will challenge?As reported on ESPN early this week, Jeff Owens and Cam Owens have confirmed they will end their SOL seasons after going 1-2 at the Vuelta Competition, and with the announcement comes the question. Who can challenge Jorden Wakeley for the rainbow jersey this Thursday, or could it simply be a matter of some pride and a podium? On recent form, it’s impossible to think anyone but Wakeley will take the win as long as he’s present and has both legs attached.

Like Han Solo, Ryan Kennedy hates hearing the odds. For the former World Champion and this year’s Tour winner, it will be a matter of attendance, as he’s been out due to injury since his Tour win in July. It’s been a long and slow recover, but “Mr. President” can always put down some power.

He’ll be on hand to help teammate and defending World Champ Luke Tjosvold. He’s also been off the SOL path for a few weeks, but has had his title defense as a fixture and will be prepared to battle all comers. He can count on the support of WorldTour points winner Cody Sovis, as well as Mike Walters and Craig Fortuna, with Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing hoping to keep the jersey in the team.

Kent McNeil has been a rising start, improving in leaps and bounds since spring and now is a serious contender for a win. He’s found himself bar-to-bar with KEEN’s Kyle Macdermaid the past few weeks, and the two may be at the point end of things again this Thursday. Both will be podium contenders at the very least after consistently strong finishes all summer.

On the women’s side, Susan Vigland enjoys the same overwhelming favorite status, but far fewer challengers. Barring some return of Kaitlyn Patterson, like a ghost from Speed of Lights past, it depends upon Lauri Brockmiller to offer up resistance. It’s been a spotty season on the women’s side, but perhaps the allure of a World Championship can bring a few more to the last Speed of Light of 2016.

On the new Master’s side, Rob Goepfrich is hoping to keep his tremendous summer going. After winning Best Old Rider at both the Tour and the Vuelta, he can cap it off Thursday with a World Championship crown. His chief rival will be teammate Lars Welton, but there are whispers in the woods that the ageless and legendary Jack Kline might just hobble out for the night to give Rob a “@#$%@% #@$$#$ good hard kick in the @#$@$%#”, or so he would say.

The new U-23 category is wide open, and it could be simply a matter of some kid showing up and riding the lap while chasing Pokemon accidentally. There are a number of Pokemon on the Power Section, or so it’s been told.

The final Speed of Light of 2016 leaves Ec at 6.15, and rolls through Bunker Hill at 6.30.