GUARNIER GIFTED BIRTHDAY WIN
Despite their Yorkshirewoman and defending champion Lizzie Deignan watching the Tour de Yorkshire from the sidelines as she prepares to give birth to her irst child later this year, Boels-Dolmans rider Megan Guarnier utilised Deignan's local knowledge to win the newly expanded two- day stage race. “Lizzie took me through what I could expect,” Guarnier said at the inish, as Boels-Dolmans continued to show why they are the dominant force in the women’s peloton. Wiggle-High5’s Kirsten Wild easily won the stage 1 sprint into Doncaster a bike-length clear. It was her third win of 2018. Yet it was the second stage, inishing on the summit of the Cow and Calf, where the race’s general classi ication was decided. Wild knew she was unlikely to hold on to the race lead on the 1.9km climb, which averages eight per cent and maxes at 18 per cent – especially as Boels threw all the resources they had at it. Boels rider Karol-Ann Canuel was tasked with keeping the select lead group clear once the race split, before her teammate and world champion Chantal Blaak attacked on the penultimate climb. When Blaak was reeled in, Guarnier struck on the lower slopes of the Cow and Calf. She accelerated with 500 metres to go and no one could catch her. She crossed the line 14 seconds clear of the chasers to take the stage win and the race’s overall lead. As well as the win coming on the American’s 33rd birthday, it was also her irst victory of 2018.