American all-rounder Megan Guarnier heads into the Amgen Women's Race, her country's only Women's WorldTour event, as a favourite to win a second overall title. Her recent victory at the two-day Tour de Yorkshire was the confidence boost she needed after an injury-marred 2017 season.
"It was nice to finally get my first win since my jaw fracture at the World Championships," Guarnier told Cyclingnews. "I had a great team around me, and I was happy to be able to deliver on their hard work."
Guarnier secured the overall victory at the Amgen Women's Race in 2016, and last year won the opening stage in South Lake Tahoe. That was one of few highlights of 2017 after her season started with a concussion in February and ended with a broken jaw in September at the World Championships.
She has slowly come into top form through the Classics season with 10th place at the Tour of Flanders, third place at Flèche Wallonne and eighth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
At the Tour de Yorkshire, Guarnier won the second stage on a summit finish to Ilkley, and, in doing so, won the overall classification. The win shows that she is back at the top of her game and that she will be a solid contender in California.
Guarnier will not be racing with Boels Dolmans as the team announced in April that they did not have the riders or the resources to compete in both the Amgen Women's Race and Emakumeen Bira – two conflicting events on the Women's WorldTour. Therefore, the race will start without Boels Dolmans' defending champion and Women's WorldTour leader Anna van der Breggen.
Guarnier will instead line up with the USA Cycling Team alongside her Boels Dolmans teammate Skylar Schneider, as well as Christina Birch, Samantha Schneider (ISCorp), Jennifer Wheeler and cyclo-cross star Katie Compton (Trek).
"It is a shame that there are two conflicting Women's WorldTour Races," Guarnier said. "But I'm happy that I can race on home soil."
The Amgen Women's Race was reduced to three days this year but will still cover challenging terrain that includes a flat, fast stage in and out of Elk Grove on May 17, the 'queen stage' in South Lake Tahoe on May 18, and a circuit around the State Capitol in Sacramento on May 19.
Guarnier would no doubt like to win a second title in California. Asked if she feels prepared to contest the overall classification, she said, "I've had a long spring Classics season racing the Women's WorldTour, and so I'm hoping this is adequate preparation to be a contender at the Tour of California."