photo credit @ Boels – Dolmans
Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) claimed the first edition of the women’s Strade Bianche today, after executing a well-timed solo attack during the final kilometers, to beat her teammate Lizzie Armitstead and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda).
It wasn’t until 58 kilometers of racing got underway, that a sizable lead group of 14 riders managed to breakaway from the peloton.
However, a series of attacks from Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Bigla), further reduced the group to just 5 riders.
From there, the quintet containing Moolman-Pasio, Guarnier, Armitstead, Longo Borghini and Anna Van Der Breggen (Rabo Liv), continued to increase their gap.
Concerted attacks by Armistead and Guarnier, over the second to last sector of gravel, opened up a slight gap for the Boels-Dolmans riders, with Armistead taking the front. However, her time in the lead was short-lived, before she was quickly reeled back in. Next, it was Guarnier that made her move – just as the gradient began to ease. And, from there, the American rider proceeded to open up a slight gap for herself.
As the race entered the outskirts of Siena, Guarnier had managed to increase her lead to 40 seconds. And, that was the last her rivals saw of her, as she went on to celebrate a solo victory in the Piazza il Campo in Siena.
“I remember watching the men’s race last year and said ‘Wow, what an incredible race, I want to do that’. Then I thought about it more and decided that I wanted to win. It’s not every day you can say that you say it and it happens. This was a big win for me,” Guarnier told the media.
“This was our first on the gravel of the Strade Bianche. It was technical but I loved it. You wouldn’t want to get in the soft stuff, so you had to look way ahead to take the correct line. But it was a nice.”
Guarnier explained how she and Armitstead work in unison to take first and second place.
“We had to be conservative because initially other teams were more strongly represented but as the race went on, the course selected out some of the others,” she said.
“Lizzie went on the steep part but then it flattened out and so I kept powering through. I got gap and then kept holding,”
“Lizzie went on the attack on the second to last gravel section and I countered and stayed away. Lizzie had her work cut out behind covering everything but we did it.”
Top 20 Finishers
1 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 2:59:17
2 Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:00:37
3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle Honda
4 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Bigla Pro Cycling Team 0:00:39
5 Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:00:46
6 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:00:52
7 Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Velocio – SRAM 0:00:54
8 Anna Solovey (Ukr) Astana – Acca Due O 0:01:04
9 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling Team 0:01:10
10 Elena Cecchini (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:04:01
11 Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
12 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica AIS 0:04:03
13 Rossella Ratto (Ita) Inpa Sottoli Giusfredi
14 Audrey Cordon (Fra) Wiggle Honda 0:04:07
15 Shelley Olds (USA) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
16 Carlee Taylor (Aus) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:04:08
17 Shara Gillow (Aus) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
18 Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team 0:04:15
19 Loren Rowney (Aus) Velocio – SRAM
20 Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:04:19
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