A night that pushes even the very best to the limit, the Queen Stage loom large over the Tour Competition finale.
Ryan “Mr. President” Kennedy sits 22 miles away from another Tour win, but as we’ve all seen, there’s nothing simple about the Double. For the third year, the Tour Competition concludes with a cruel double loop of the normal Speed of Light course. Nearly 23 miles long, it’s long enough to completely reshape the general classification, and it’s produced some of the most exciting racing of the season.
Still one of the most exciting editions starred Kennedy. Looking to close out his first Tour win, Kennedy’s frame cracked just a few miles into the stage. The M22 trio of Matt Myers, Keegan Myers, and Sean Kickbush tore away, looking to take the race win. Behind, Kennedy’s teammate rose to the challenge, Nate St. Onge handing over his bike and Cody Sovis pulling Kennedy back into touch with the leaders before limping to a crawl, completely spent.
It was different tactical move the next year, where Sovis combined with Jason Whittaker and Luke Tjosvold and Kennedy himself to put a python-like squeeze on the field. The team was so dominant that the rest of the field could hardly hold on, let alone offer up any sort of attack. This year, Kennedy has lacked team support, but he’ll hope to find Tjosvold back to assist in the defense.
So far, he’s hardly had anything to defend. On Stage Three, second placed rider Braiden Voss waited until the final mile and a half to make his move, and if he still wants to win, he’ll need to go much, much sooner in the finale. He needs to find 67 seconds in the sands of the Vasa Pathway, with John O’Hearn 1:53 down on Kennedy. Sitting over two minutes down in sixth, Cody Sovis has vowed to attack from long range, and Kennedy’s best defense may come from other riders looking to defend their own positions from those speculative efforts from the likes of Sovis, Garrett Jenema, and Kyle Macdermaid, who make up the top six.
Voss should be able to hold the Mountains classification, while Sovis sits just two points clear for the green jersey. The Best Old Rider classification is all but tied up for Rob Frank, although Jeff Galsterer will be looking to make sure his second place is safe in order to maximize his points haul for the year-end WorldTour standings. Hagerty has the Team Competition a safe five minutes out of reach, with ERSB looking to defend just 12 seconds over kolo t.c. for second place.
After the Tour, the next SOL is the ever-exciting team time trial. Teams can pick up some handy WorldTour points based on the finishing time of their third fastest rider. It’s a discipline that’s ERSB has dominated in years past, although only Kennedy and Tjosvold remain of the teams that have won the event in the past.
Speed of Light rolls at 6:45 at Bunker Hill, with miniSOL and Junior SOL meeting in the lot at 6:30.