2018 Speed of Light Tour Competition Stage Three: O’Hearn Inches Closer

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The fight for the yellow jersey gets even closer as John O’Hearn pulls back another six seconds on Stage Three. 

It was as composed as stage as you’d expect until the race exploded in the final kilometers. With no Jeff Owens, Jason Johnson, or another big motor and Cody Sovis desperately trying to hold yellow, it was a rather sedate start to the Tour’s third stage. Much like the Alpe D’Huez stage that took place in actual France, the final efforts proved to be well worth the start.

Aside from those aforementioned absentees, the race also saw the retirement of women’s race leader Emma Schwab, who ducked out in order to race MTB Nationals this weekend. We’re all rooting for her to win and stop beating us up. Her teammate, the flying Bridgit Widrig, inherits the yellow jersey on the ladies’ side, yet another Hagerty win in that competition. Also of note, Susan Vigland scored for Hagerty in the team competition, the first to register in that competition in any Grand Tour this summer.

The men’s sedate start was broken first by Josh Zelinski, who snuck off the front before Wood Chip. Cody Sovis tried to leap across, but the pair were chased down just as a sizeable lead pack hit the Power Section. Due to a technical issue, Sovis’ didn’t get a GPS file, and so his lead in the Points competition ended before they even made the turn onto the two-track. Instead, a small group that had chased back on took top points, with Josh Zelinski and Dan Ellis now well clear in that competition. JZ is on 36 points, with Ellis on 28. It should be between those two for green!

Heading into the Wall Bypass, it was again JZ going off the front, with Sovis on the front and letting the gap grow. Kyle Macdermaid was the first to move from the chase, leaping up to JZ on the Boonenberg en route to taking 10 points on the climb and putting the Mountains classification on ice. He’s ten points clear of John O’Hearn, but he can go all-in on this one next week for double points.

While some riders were distanced over the climb, Sam Holmes set off in pursuit of Macdermaid in the final 25 meters of the climb and stayed on the gas, pushing out a ten second lead. Macdermaid sat up to rejoin the chase, but Sovis went on the move. He bridged up to Holmes, who immediately sat up as John O’Hearn sped across to the front group. The three riders were well clear of the chase, with Sovis on the front and keeping one eye behind him and the other on his seat, which was jangling around and shit.

The ending was inevitable, with O’Hearn punching past for the win and Holmes sliding home second, finding six more seconds on Sovis with only the Queen Stage left to ride. O’Hearn is just 36 seconds down, with Dan Ellis just over five minutes further back.

kolo t.c. holds a firm lead in the Team Competition, now over five minutes clear of Hagerty, who have been missing the talismanic Garrett Jenema.

The ride of the day has to go to Max Meyer, the Hagerty Junior who took two minutes off his time from last week to finish just outside of the top ten on the night and move past Trent Grzegorczyk on GC.

Of course, next week is the Queen Stage. All riders on GC must do two laps in order to finish the Tour; riders at SOL that aren’t in GC can do just one if they’d like, but we won’t report on single lap times next week. After a very democratic vote last night (Russia wouldn’t would wouldn’t dare mess with our voting) the Juniors decided to do one lap next week toward the Tour Competition. miniSOL does one lap, as usual, then has snacks.

For all events, the Mountains and Points classifications will be worth 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 points on the Power Section and the Boonenberg. They’ll be based on the FASTEST time of the day, regardless of lap, so if you don’t PR on lap one, sit up, and give it another go.

All the Speed of Light results for 2018 are right here.

The updated Tour Competition standings are right here.

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