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It was a somewhat reduced bunch that set off in pursuit of glory on Stage 2 of the SOL’s Vuelta competition on Thursday night. The wiry Ryan Kennedy set out to put his signature on a grand tour that he’ll be unable to finish, and in all likelihood would have won, due to work and a running race over the next few weeks. Cody Sovis and John O’Hearn looked to match Kennedy for the stage win, while keeping a keen eye on each other knowing that it’ll be one of them who’ll inherit the red jersey from Kennedy for Stage 3.

A Quick Start and Close Finish For GC Leaders

A quartet consisting of Sovis, Kennedy, O’Hearn, and Dan Ellis got away quickly over the VASA CCCC climb, but it was Ellis who blinked first and was dropped over Mount Gary. The remaining lead trio attacked each other repeatedly to end the spandex-clad stalemate, but it was the reigning red jersey wearer Kennedy who finally broke the deadlock to win the stage, with Sovis gaining a few precious seconds over O’Hearn to finish second on the day. Sovis will be the de facto leader of the tour next week, with O’Hearn needing to find a way to drop the spinach-eating Sovis over the next fortnight to take the Vuelta.

The Battle Behind

If you thought the battle for the win was tight, then hold onto your chamois. Ellis dropping to the chase group after Mount Gary made for one powerful train, as Wes Sovis tried to repay Dan’s  selfless work all summer long by pulling Dan on significant portions of the Power Section ahead of Kent McNeil, Sam Holmes, and Jon Zelinski. On the Boonenberg, Holmes somehow found traction on his Cannondale Slate, complete with slick tires, to decimate the field, briefly distancing McNeil and Zelinski, and reducing the heftier Sovis to a solitary chase. A superhuman effort from McNeil brought him and Zelinski back into touch with Holmes and Ellis, with that group of four all finishing within 7 seconds of each other on the night.

Just a bit further back, some names are moving noticeably north on the results sheet each week, and it’s about time you took note. Neil Vajda finished an impressive 15th on the night and has shown growing promise all summer long. Ryan DeFour, a mountain bike newbie, has made SOL a priority this summer and has taken chunks of time off his time each week aboard his trusty singlespeed. It was also really cool to see the mustachioed-man himself, Rob G., make a return to SOL after taking a little break in attendance. Turns out some people have “stuff” to do on Thursday nights. Certainly not something I’d know much about.

The Ladies GC

Emma Schwab leads the women on GC, fending off all-comers in two consecutive tours de force. Valerie Hyrman is in second place while expertly piloting her CX bike to gain some serious bike handling #SKILLS for the upcoming ‘cross season. ‘Cross is coming, as all the hashtags on Insta keep reminding me, and Val is using SOL as the perfect training tool to get her to the top step of the podium.

The Jersey Competitions

Cody Sovis leads the Points competition, with Kent McNeil and Dan Ellis needing to work some magic to get back on terms. It’s Sam Holmes on top of the Mountains (get it?) category after Stage two, with the always competitive O’Hearn just four points back. Tom White and Rob Frank will likely need all four weeks of the Grand Tour to decide who will in the Old (Experienced is better) Rider Competition. In the team competition, kolo T.C. miraculously leads, with Ty Schmidt and Brad Pauly doing an excellent job to put Norte in second and certainly within a shout of taking the win. Hagerty, too, is within spitting distance of Norte and kolo, meaning one bad day or one really, really good ride could see the top three change positions before the end of the tour.

One more shoutout to all the Norte kids who showed up to take on the SOL course. Will Unger, Carter Schmidt, that one Wierzba kid and the rest of the crew show us how to ride bikes and how to have fun week in and week out. Thanks, kids. You rock.

Check the Vuelta GC and all that stuff here.

Check the weekly SOL times here.

You should also follow kolo t.c. on Instagram.