It's here! Your official race book for the 2015 Giro Competition is ready. May 7 kicks off a splendid summer of SOL, and a tough first month for the Grand Tour contenders.
The third edition of the Speed of Light Giro Competition is a sharp jump into a full season of action, with no easing into things on May 7. Just a few days after Mud, Sweat and Beers, Stage One of the Giro forces the hands of the GC men right from the gun.
All eyes will be on the three time Grand Tour winner Ty Schmidt, who took home both the Giro and Tour in 2014. He'll be challenged by a plethora of Einstein Racing riders, including Ryan Kennedy, Jason Lowetz, Jake Ellis and Nate St. Onge. Hagerty Cycling's Craig Webb should also feature, while the M-22 tandem of Sean Kickbush and Keegan Myers are always a threat. McLain Cycling offers its strongest squad yet, spearheaded by Eric Grassa and Marc Brunette.
Their ageless teammate, Jack Kline, will be in the hunt for the Best Old Rider competition, with a strong challenge from Hagerty's new signing, Rob Goepfrich.
Beth Collins will do battle with Trisha Manion for the Women's title, with the indomitable Heidi Jones always ready to get stuck in, week in and week out.
Stage One: The opener puts the GC riders under pressure right away. There will be no glass-cranking, with 10, 6 and 4 seconds on the line, and the only bonus time for the entire Giro. There will be 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 points for the Mountains and Sprint Classifications as well. The Sprint segment will the the classic Power Section, while the Vasa CC Climb returns as the KOM segment.
Stage Two: It's a tradition to have the second week earmarked for the sprinters and strongmen, and this is true to form on May 14. It'll be double points over the Power Section, with 20, 16, 12, 8 and 4 points awarded. It's normal points for the KOM, with that competition waiting for the third day of the Giro to take center stage.
Stage Three: The climbers get their chance on May 21 with the Vasa CC climb serving as an immediate kick to the teeth of any rider unprepared for its rude welcome. Double points for the climbers, and normal points for the sprinters. It's the last chance to make up any big gaps with the help of extra points.
Stage Four: The finale is on May 28, and there should be everything left to fight for to round out the Giro campaign. Normal points, no time bonuses, nothing but the pink jersey on the minds of riders still in contention overall, or looking at other competitions after three tough weeks.