Two brand-new Grand Tour champs to kick off a big Speed of Light season in TC.
John O’Hearn and Marie Voss confirmed their Giro wins in a thrilling finale Thursday night, making it two new winners ahead of the Tour Competition in July. Voss needed simply to finish on a dry, sandy day on the Vasa, while O’Hearn had to weather at least a few Quixotic attacks from Cody Sovis, who entered the last day of the Giro down 67 seconds.
There was plenty left to ride for, and the incredibly tight Mountains Classification sparked a flurry of late moves. All the favorites now have the Vasa CC Climb figured out; hang back, accelerate after the first two rollers and empty the tank up the last climb to the bench. That acceleration is something only a handful of riders can handle, and the predictable names of Kennedy, Jeff Owens, Cam Owens, and O’Hearn were the ones to light it up. Kennedy took the fastest time, which gave him the Mountains win, but the efforts split the front group, with Sovis tacked on and both Dan Ellis and Tim Coffey dangling as they moved towards Madeleine’s.
Just before the short climb at the turn, Sovis snuck around Kennedy for his first attack of the night, but as would be the theme, it as quickly contained by O’Hearn and the rest of the favorites. Jeff Owens slipped by on Mount Gary, with O’Hearn and Sovis riding up bar-to-bar, daring the other to close the gap. Instead it was Kennedy who brought the favorites back onto Owen’s wheel, and it was Owens himself keeping the pace high before Sovis tried his next attack.
He got hardly ten feet before he was reeled in, only to go again. The strong pace for Owens on the first half of the Power Section, and the big attacks from Sovis in the latter stages saw a time of 8:15, one of the fastest times of the year.
Kennedy and Owens were back to the front across the Saarlock Pit and the Wall Bypass, and the lead five were together over the top of the Boonenberg, which will feature as the KOM for the Tour in July. Here, Sovis played his last card, attacking twice near 10km cut off and trying to get some daylight. Even at 30 mph, he couldn’t get an inch on O’Hearn, who flicked away the moves like so many annoying flies.
With Sovis dropped on Anita’s, O’Hearn had enough to test the other riders with a flying descent, only to get pipped by a very calculated counter from Ryan Kennedy, who adds the stage to Mountains and Points wins.
Marie Voss rolled home just a few minutes later to celebrate her first Giro victory, and it was a big night for her Hagerty squad. They collected her win, Dave Bucholtz’s Best Old Rider and Singlespeed victories, and a come-from-behind victory in the Team Competition, moving a full 24 seconds clear of kolo t.c. Pirate Armada thanks to Cam Owens and Chris Klau.
Jeff Galstererererer was second in the Best Old Rider Competition, and he’s got to be a big favorite ahead of next week’s Fat Bike Night. He’s vowed to ride his fat bike all season, and with consistent times all month long, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with at the Tour.
On GC, O’Hearn finishes with 1:57 over Sovis, with kolo t.c. at least finding some consolation in taking second, third and fourth with Dan Ellis and Wes Sovis both having strong rides. It’s Marie Voss in fifth, with Jaden Drews putting in a strong ride for ERSB ahead of Bucholtz, Galsterer, the famous Jason Stuart, and Giro debutant Trent Grzegorczyk of MiCapital.
Next week, it’s Fat Bike Night, with double WorldTour points for riders on fat bikes in the top 20. It’s also the first miniSOL and Junior SOL, with Hagerty Cycling and Norte leading no-drop, non-timed previews of the respective courses before racing begins in earnest the following week.
Watch for the full WorldTour points picture on the site early next week, plus a look at Brian Beckwith’s Speedvagen, a Fat Bike Night preview for SOL, and probably some other stuff. Maybe. Work is pretty busy right now.