Barnsley to Ilkley, Friday May 4th 2018 – Birthday girl Megan Guarnier produced a climbing masterclass on the Côte de Cow and Calf to win the 2018 Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race. The American Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam rider – celebrating her 33rd birthday – left her rivals behind on the iconic Yorkshire climb and was given a rapturous reception by the large crowd as she wrapped up the stage and overall victory.
The race began in Barnsley, where the stunning Town Hall provided a perfect backdrop for what would be an amazing day’s racing and it wasn’t far out of the South Yorkshire town that the first test began; the Cote de Blacker Hill.
It was Nicola Juniper (NJC-Biemme-Echelon) who was first over the climb to take the Queen of the Mountains points immediately equalling QoM leader; 17 year old Pfeiffer Georgi of local Team Jadan Weldtite Vive le Velo’s points. Sophie Wright (Torelli-Brother) and Erica Magnaldi (BePink) came over close behind Nicola, but this attack didn’t stick and by the time the sprint at Swinton came around it was a different scene as two top riders from day one rallied to take first and second respectively in the form of overall winner Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) and Dani Rowe (Great Britain Cycling Team).
As the race passed into West Yorkshire, Katie Ragusa (BePink) had made a move, managing to put a short distance between herself and the peloton before being joined by Manon Lloyd (Trek-Drops).
The pair did maintain a slender lead for a while but by the time the sprint at Swinton came around they were being reined in.
Lloyd was able to hold on to take maximum points in the sprint but Wild and Rowe managed to ride back on to take second and third.
You only had to listen to the world’s best riders talking after the race to hear how bowled over they had been by the reception – it truly has been on an unprecedented scale.
The peloton was given a great send-off in Barnsley and people lined the entire route as they wound their way to Ilkley for that spectacular finish. We knew the Cow and Calf would provide a magnificent conclusion and we weren’t disappointed. Megan produced a stunning ride and is a more than worthy winner.
With around 25km to go, another move was made. This time by world champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) with a smart move up the road to try and set up her team mate Megan Guarnier to take the stage, and the overall win, with two hard climbs approaching, the first of which being Cote de Old Pool Bank.
This 1km climb at a gradient of 10% was taken by Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) ahead of Alena Amialusk (Canyon Sram) and Dani Rowe.
Amialusk and Rowe would take second and third once more on the final climb, the Cote de Cow and Calf but it wasn’t Borghini who would take the overall honours. It was birthday girl Megan Guarnier who would power up the climb after a perfectly timed attack to win the 2018 Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s race and bring the curtain down on another great sporting spectacle.
Belarussian Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM Racing) was the next rider home – 14 seconds adrift – with Great Britain’s Dani Rowe just three seconds further behind.
Those results meant Guarnier took the winner’s blue jersey – sponsored by Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries – with a 17-second advantage over Rowe, with Amialiusik two seconds back in third. Bonus points accrued on the line also meant Guarnier topped the best climber classification sponsored by Virgin Trains.
Stage one winner Kirsten Wild picked up eight points on the day’s two intermediate sprints and that meant she topped the best sprinter classification sponsored by Asda, while Team Sunweb triumphed in the team classification.
It’s always nice to be on the podium, and I had goosebumps on that last climb. I really like this race. I have done it twice now and it’s one of the biggest we do all season. It’s been nice to see it grow to two days this year and we have really enjoyed it in Yorkshire.
Podium Interviews with 2018 Tour de Yorkshire winner Megan Guarnier and Dani Rowe & Alena Amialiusik (2nd & 3rd respectively). All content ©www.cyclingshorts.cc / www.chrismaher.co.uk
After the race Guarnier was gushing in her praise for the warm Yorkshire welcome she and the rest of the peloton received.
It is a real honour to win this race and it’s my first victory of the year so I’m excited. I have never, ever seen so many people on a finishing climb and so many people cheering us on. That really helped bring me home because I was full gas at the end.
Stage 2 Results & Overall Classification
1. Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 6:48:09
2. Dani Rowe (GBr) Great Britain +17 sec
3. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-Sram Racing +19 sec
4. Liane Lippert (Ger) Team Sunweb Women +31 sec
5. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) BePink +33 sec
Megan Guarnier - Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
Kirsten Wild - Wiggle High 5
Megan Guarnier - Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
Dani Rowe - Great Britain
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