Another beautiful, sunny day graced racers as they left Campbell River behind and sailed from Vancouver Island to Powell River with BC Ferries. The beachfront Stage Three Base Camp in Powell River is one of the most picturesque of the week, with the start/finish line arch and racer tents set up mere metres from the ocean’s edge.
The stage began with an Oceanside lead out winding racers into an extensive trail network that’s meticulously maintained by local riders and includes singletrack affectionately referred to as ‘rolling thunder.’ Trees were the theme of the day, providing swoopy, slaloming trails and undulating rooty sections that lent themselves to strong focus and flow. The reward at the end of the trail was a return to the sun-drenched beachfront finish line where sandy beaches and cool ocean waters beckoned.
The Kona Team of Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks won the stage On The Hei Hei 29rs and continue to wear the leaders’ jerseys for the third consecutive day. While the focus often falls on the lead rider, there’s an intense battle shaping up in the Epic Team category. Nativo/Devinci’s Marty Lazarski and Ricky Federau, Clif Bar’s Mitchell Hoke and Brady Kappius, and Rocky Mountain Bikes Colin Kerr and Greg Day are in a fierce battle for the remaining top spots in the GC, with working within a 3 minute spread. This is definitely becoming the race to watch.
Stage winner Neal Kindree (Republic Bike Shop/SRAM) was less than 30 seconds ahead of GC leader Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) who still reigns with the yellow jersey, carrying a 10-minute lead into Stage Four. Jason Sager (Jamis) placed third for the stage and Cory Wallace in 4th. (Team Kona)