Velo City Cycles’ Brad White came north to help set a new SOL record, and the law firm of Owens, Owens, Wakeley and White broke the 35-minute mark.
On the original SOL course, 40 minutes was the benchmark of a truly fast time. On this new iteration, 35 minutes was always looming and it fell sooner than expected on the heels of a strong ride by four very strong riders. The third stage of the Giro already had a big KOM battle in the cards, plus second placed rider Cody Sovis vowing to try to take back time on World Champion and maglia rosa wearer John O’Hearn. It was the four man time trial, however, that was the most impressive.
Sovis’ traditional hard start was quickly swamped by the influx of talent, including Tim Coffey’s return from an injured hand. But it was Cam Owens and Brad White that began to force the issue, and over the Vasa CC Climb, Wakeley and Ryan “Mr. President” Kennedy also drove the pace, looking for the double points on offer. Wakeley had the quickest time, followed by Kennedy, both Cam and Jeff Owens, Kyle MacDermaid, Chris Klau and Brad White.
But more importantly, the forcing over the top split the lead group, with Kennedy driving it on and opening the gap. For the first time, O’Hearn looked in trouble and it was obvious he wasn’t on his best day. He drifted back, with Sovis unable to get to the four leaders. The GC battle was being played out in a vacuum, with Sovis racing to get to the leaders and O’Hearn trying to round up a chase with Kennedy, Macdermaid and others.
Onto the Power Section, the four leaders were getting things together for a fast run. Each one pulled through, with White putting in a little extra gusto each time. Somehow, Sovis inched his way onto the rear of the group and also lent a hand before just getting out of the way after the Power Section. Dropped shortly before the Wall By-Pass, the big four kept on the gas.
Meanwhile, Marie Voss was being expertly escorted around the course by her Hagerty squad, making sure she’s upright and able to claim her first Grand Tour next week. Hagerty also had a lot to ride for in the team competition, looking to get nearly two minutes back from kolo t.c.
At the line, Wakeley railed the fast, loose descent before the line to take the stage win and post a 34:55, with White second at 34:57 and Jeff Owens dead on 35:00. Cam was just four seconds back, with Cody Sovis crossing the line 1:27 down to the leader. The cameras were quickly turned back to the finish line, eye peeled for when O’Hearn would stop the clock. Ryan Kennedy rolled through next, with the maglia rosa finally coming through with a time of 37:54.
White had the fastest time in the Points competition, where he pulled a full 10 points down and matched Howard Grotts’ Iceman time of 4:17. Ryan Kennedy did enough to pick up some points and is six points on O’Hearn and Wakeley.
The Mountains Classification is still up for grabs with one more stage, and the GC isn’t completely over, although it’s hard to imagine O’Hearn losing time again. He’s still over a minute clear of Sovis with one final stage to go.
Hagerty sits just 16 seconds back on kolo in the Team Competition, and it’ll take everything for the Pirate Armada to hold on.
Dave Bucholtz looks set to take the SS and Best Old Rider crowns if he can keep everything upright on the final stage!
Here’s a GREAT video from Brad White and the Velo City Cycles crew.
Next week is the Giro Finale, followed by Fat Bike Night and the start of miniSOL and Junior SOL on June 8. We are looking for volunteers for June 8 to corral the cats/kids, so if you can make it, let us know.