GUARNIER GIFTED BIRTH­DAY WIN

Procycling - - De Brief -

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.

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