Under clouds and a drizzle, reigning SOL World Champion John O’Hearn seized pink to go with his rainbow stripes.
It was a small turnout Thursday night, with temperatures tumbling through the forties and a steady drizzle for most of the evening’s affairs. Scores of riders dropped out, electing to save their legs for Saturday’s Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel. Women’s leader Susan Vigland opened the door for teammate Marie Voss, who needs simply to finish the next two stages to take her first ever Grand Tour win.
With Jorden Wakeley and Ryan Kennedy both non-starters, John O’Hearn was always likely to take pink, but the way he did it impressed. Jeff and Cam Owens made their Italian debuts, with Cam putting in a trademark dig on the final hill on the Vasa CC Climb. O’Hearn bounced after him, along with Jeff, and the trio were gone for the day.
Lagging was a haggard and sickly Cody Sovis who, after shadowboxing the start, was left looking over his shoulder for help from teammates Wes Sovis and Dan Ellis. Wes helped get Dan to the wheel before fading slightly. Cody handled the bulk of the Power Section at tempo, but finally ceded all hope at the Wall Bypass. Ellis towed him to the line, and it was eerily similar to the Stage 8 in the 2010 Tour de France, when a young Janez Brajkovic ushered a battered Lance Armstrongushered a battered Lance Armstrong to Avoriaz nearly 11 minutes down on Andy Schleck.
At the very least, the effort move the kolo t.c. team into the lead of the Team Competition, which will, like RadioShack in 2010, become their main goal with GC hopes completely gone.
There’s nothing for O’Hearn to do but dominate now, as he holds an unassailable lead on GC and a decent margin in the Mountains classification as well. He’ll have a hard time defending both, with double Mountains points on offer in the final two stages. With the Owens’ both looking to take something from the Giro, the pair could prove irresistible in the Mountains, especially with the return of Kennedy and others next week.
Dave Bucholtz has plenty to be happy about for Hagerty, leading both the Singlespeed category and the Best Old Rider’s white jersey as the Giro hits the halfway point. With Voss, Hagerty holds the lead in three categories and isn’t out of the hunt in the Team Competition, either.
The full Giro standings are up here.
The weekly SOL standings are always right here.