It's going to be a wild show tonight at Speed of Light, with the WorldTour favorites looking to target the second of three double-points opportunities. This time, riders eschew their 4" and 5" tires in favorite of 35mm rubbers and drop bars.
Ty Schmidt still sits in the hot seat after his Giro victory in May, and on the heels of a great top five last week, he should certainly be in the mix all the way through the year. If he decides to ride his cyclocross bike and can manage a top ten, he could be very tough to tackle heading into the Tour, where he'll look to defend his title from 2013.
Jason Whittaker is looking for a massive June, where he is one of the few riders capable of taking double points on all three featured bikes for the month. He'll be on a cyclocross bike tonight, and has spent much of the spring aboard his Salsa El Mariachi SS, to great success. JW will be on his FOCUS Mares CX with 33 Challenge Grifos for traction. It's slightly thinner choice than many, but one he's spent the most time on.
Jason Lowetz will also be in it to win after a podium place last week aboard his Borealis Yampa. That bike, dubbed Operation Flaccid Earthworm, is reportedly the lightest fat bike in the world, and this week, he'll be aboard an equally hip ride, a Salsa Warbird Ti. It's build special from the ground up with ZIPP wheels, cockpit and a Thompson seat post borrowed from our other special Surly Moonlander build. He'll be on Kenda Slant Six tires, adopting the 35mm width that is popular for the Vasa.
Hopping on a FOCUS Mares CX, Eric Pollard is the dark horse of the night and a serious contender for stage honors. Few riders have as much experience on a cyclocross bike as Pollard, and he's already proven himself a powerful rider in the closing miles, which are some of the toughest on skinny wheels. He'll use the 35mm version of the Schwalbe Racing Ralph, a great 'cross tire especially for the twitchy, fast moves that are sure to light up the ride.
I'll be on my trusty FOCUS Mares AX, which just rolled over 6,600 miles in its life. This bad dad, like JW's, is set-up with a 1x drivetrain, mine with a 40t front chain ring and 11-28t cassette. The big advantage is the wheel and tire pairing mounted for mountain bike use. Shimano Ultegras are just a touch wider than most road wheels, and work very well with Surly's Knard tire in the 41mm width. In the sand, it's a big difference for being 6mm wider than what a lot of folks ride.
See you tonight at SOL, and remember, next week is Singlespeed and Ladies' Night!