Speed of Light Giro Competition: Stage Two For The Sprinters

SOL The dead-locked GC battle won't be decided until the very last stage, but the red sprint jersey could well end up on the shoulders of this week's top performer on the Power Section.

Jorden Wakeley and Ryan Kennedy's duel for overall honors won't be over for a while. Their battle for pink is sure to be a thriller, but the attention turns squarely onto the sprinter's red jersey on Stage Two. The sprinters and strong men will be opening it up on the Power Section, with double points on offer to the fastest time of the day over the 2.9 mile segment.

The sheer speed of the leaders is usually enough to place the GC men in the top five, but if last week's jerky, start and stop style along the flats repeats itself, it could end up being a title capable of being snagged by a dedicated rider. There are a number of riders out of the GC picture with the horsepower to give it a shot, including Hagerty's Tim Jenema, KEEN's Scott Luca and McLain's Eric Grassa, all in the top ten overall but over three minutes down.

Einstein Racing is rumored to be putting their focus for the sprints into the hands of Wes Sovis. Nearly 12 minutes down on GC, he has the horsepower to go sub-nine on the Power Section, and would be tough to top if he can make it through the initial climbs in the company of a few teammates like Rob Goepfrich or Eric Pollard.

The current picture has Steve Andriese on top, two points clear of Jorden Wakeley. Those two, along with Ryan Kennedy and Keegan Myers, would have the most to gain from a fast pace Thursday, and could call on teammates to ensure the pace is high. Kennedy was notably isolated at the halfway mark, though Nate St. Onge has vowed to ride as faithful lieutenant for as long as possible for the rest of the race. He could also see some help from the return of Jason Lowetz, who, providing he can crest the early climbs, could be invaluable in controlling the pace on the Power Section and descents late.

The red jersey is up for grabs with double points, giving the fastest time 20, with the rest being divvied up a 16, 12, 8 and 4. Those points, and point gaps, could be decisive, though the other two stages are more than enough to alter the standings.

Also of note, Laura Webb holds a convincing lead in the women's race, with teammate and wunderkind Heidi Schwab slotted in second place. Webb is looking to claim the fastest time ever, and en route, she should be safe to take the women's Giro win.