Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) won her second USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship in a three-up sprint in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Monday. Guarnier was first into the final corner of the downtown finish and held off Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) and Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM) for the win.
“It’s an honour to represent the ‘stars-and-stripes’ in Europe,” Guarnier said. “When I’m over there I’m honoured to race for the United States, but to be able to wear that jersey again when I’m over there, hopefully it will raise my game even more.”
Cloudy skies, humid temperatures, and growing wind loomed as riders took the line in downtown Chattanooga. The 111.6km race was comprised of three start laps through a downtown circuit, two longer loops up Lookout Mountain, and then finishing on three final downtown laps. Each lap included a trip up the Kent St. wall, a short 13 per cent climb, which was added to the course in 2014.
The first serious action was driven by Beth Orton (Visit Dallas-Noise4Good) and Whitney Schultz (Colavita/Bianchi-Fine Cooking) who went on the attack early in the race. Orton and Schultz were joined by Kaitlin Antonneau (Twenty16-ShoAir) and the three riders maintained a gap of almost a minute until the peloton hit Lookout Mountain.
Back in the field Boels Dolmans moved to the front and started shedding riders as they crested the top of the 4.4km climb. After Antonneau and Shultz were caught on the descent, the entire Twenty 16-ShoAir squad, driven by Kristin Armstrong, took the front and proceeded to drive a blistering pace. The effort whittled the field down to less than 30 riders.
“We let them set the tempo and it was a good tempo for us because it didn’t let things come back together,” Guarnier said. “And then we were just ready for the climb.”
The second time up Lookout Mountain Armstrong, Wiles, Amber Neben (Visit Dallas-Noise4Good), and Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) took turns pushing the tempo. The leaders’ efforts whittled the field down to 10 riders. Then, with less than 1km to the summit, Stevens attacked. Neben followed, and drew Guarnier and Wiles with her. The four riders crossed the summit alone but UnitedHealthcare riders Katie Hall and Coryn Rivera were able to connect on the descent.
A chase group composed of Armstrong, Brianne Walle (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), Allie Dragoo (Twenty16-ShoAir), and Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB) made contact with them as they started the final downtown circuits. The chase connected right before the Kent St. wall giving the leaders a window to counter. Stevens and Gaurnier immediately cracked the whip and attacked going up Kent St. Only Wiles, Rivera, and Neben could respond.
It was a disappointing outcome for Twenty16-ShoAir after controlling the early laps of the race.
“It was a difficult day for us out there,” said Twenty16-ShoAir director Mari Holden. “Some of the riders we expected to have better legs today had problems with stomach issues, etc.”
Stevens continued to attack on Kent St. and was able to establish a gap. Stevens’ move looked like it could take her to the line and allowed Guarnier to keep an eye on Neben, Wiles, and Rivera.
“We were not taking them to the line, and I realized I was strong on that climb. I could wait to the final lap to do it, but I thought ‘You know what, let her sit on for as long as possible and if i can hold it awesome, if not she’s [Guarnier] going to win,’” Stevens said.
It was a tricky situation for Wiles who was riding without any teammates.
“It was kind of hard to know what to do because it was two Boels and then everybody else was individual so that was alright,” Wiles said. “It was hard to know when to attack, who to chase, who to let chase. You had to gamble a little bit and in the end it came down to a sprint and I was a little surprised because this race never has.”
Neben put in several well-timed attacks but was shadowed by Guarnier on every move. The efforts spurred enough of a chase to reel Stevens back in with one lap to go. The stars appeared to be aligning for Rivera, a renowned sprinter, once the chase group overtook Stevens.
“I’m really trying to develop my endurance,” Rivera said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time now. I’ve usually been known as a crit sprinter but I’m really breaking out of that mould and I’m doing my best to go to Worlds and be on the world stage.”
Guarnier made it first to the final corner. As Guarnier sprinted into a headwind down the finish line she could feel Rivera coming up on her. The finish was close enough that Guarnier could not tell if she had won after crossing the line.
“I’m in disbelief, Coryn gave me a run for it at the end,” Guarnier said immediately after the finish. “I had to go early. Evie had an awesome solo breakaway. I just had to try and stay comfortable.”
It is the first time since she won in 2012 that Guarnier has come to the US Pro Road Race Championships with a teammate.
“Having Evelyn has just been incredible,” Guarnier said. “Having more horsepower, on my side, makes it a totally different race. I knew after Evie’s move at the end I had to finish it off for her.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||3:06:48|
|2||Coryn Rivera (USA) UnitedHealthcare|
|3||Tayler Wiles (USA) Velocio-SRAM|
|4||Amber Neben (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good||0:00:04|
|5||Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:01:03|
|6||Lauren Stephens (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB||0:03:37|
|7||Katharine Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare||0:03:38|
|8||Kristin Armstrong Savola (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR||0:03:40|
|9||Allie Dragoo (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR||0:03:52|
|10||Brianna Walle (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:06:02|
|11||Alexis Ryan (USA) UnitedHealthcare||0:06:42|
|12||Amanda Miller (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth|
|13||Andrea Dvorak (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|14||Lauren Komanski (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|15||Anna Sanders (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good|
|16||Abigail Mickey (USA) UnitedHealthcare|
|17||Lauren Hall (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|18||Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB|
|19||Heather Albert (USA) Canyon Bicycles - Shimano||0:07:58|
|20||Kathryn Donovan (USA) Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking||0:09:53|
|21||Lauren De Crescenzo (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4||0:10:42|
|22||Sara Tussey (USA) Carolina Cycling Team||0:12:32|
|23||Jill Mclaughlin (USA)||0:22:32|
|DNF||Ruth Winder (USA) UnitedHealthcare|
|DNF||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|DNF||Jessica Cerra (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|DNF||Amber Gaffney (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|DNF||Carmen Small (USA) TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR|
|DNF||Amy Charity (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Maura Kinsella (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Alison Tetrick (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Lindsay Bayer (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth|
|DNF||Christina Gokey-Smith (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth|
|DNF||Meredith Miller (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth|
|DNF||Amy Phillips (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth|
|DNF||Sara Headley (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB|
|DNF||Kendall Ryan (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB|
|DNF||Allison Linnell (USA) Vaiano Fondriest|
|DNF||Jessica Cutler (USA) Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking|
|DNF||Whitney Schultz (USA) Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking|
|DNF||Heather Fischer (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4|
|DNF||Breanne Nalder (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4|
|DNF||Anne Perry (USA) DNA Cycling p/b K4|
|DNF||Alicia Allenbuerger (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing|
|DNF||Janelle Cole (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing|
|DNF||Christy Keely (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing|
|DNF||Catherine Moore (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing|
|DNF||Starla Teddergreen (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing|
|DNF||Meghan Korol (USA) PainPathways Cycling Team|
|DNF||Caroline Moakley (USA) Happy Tooth Womens Racing|
|DNF||Katherine Shields (USA) PainPathways Cycling Team|
|DNF||Anna Christiansen (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good|
|DNF||Kathryn Hunter (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good|
|DNF||Mia Manganello (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good|
|DNF||Bethann Orton (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good|
|DNF||Jessica Christensen (USA) Team WE|
|DNF||Rachel Hart (USA) Team WE|
|DNF||Kirsten Sass (USA) Team WE|
|DNF||Arden Stelly (USA) Carolina Cycling Team|
|DNF||Sabrina David (USA) Groove Subaru Excel Sports|
|DNF||Annie Toth (USA) Groove Subaru Excel Sports|
|DNF||Kailin Acheson (USA) Team Belladium p/b Lane Motor Museum|
|DNF||Cali Ewing (USA) Team Belladium p/b Lane Motor Museum|
|DNF||Amy Floyd (USA) Argon18Racing p/b November & Fast Freddie Apparel|
|DNF||Jeanine Seeger (USA) CPO Bikes|
|DNF||Debbie Milne (USA) Dom360.com|
|DNF||Leah Thomas (USA) Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel|
|DNF||Jacqueline Parker (USA) Mystic Velo Club|
|DNF||Kimberley Johnson (USA) Naked Women's Racing|
|DNF||Kelly Catlin (USA) NorthStar Development|
|DNF||Erin Wittwer (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Cycling|
|DNF||Julie Emmerman (USA) Rally Sport Cycling Team|
|DNF||Jannalyn Luttrell (USA) Roosters/Bikers Edge-UT|
|DNF||Stephanie Rynas (USA) Taco Mamacita|
|DNF||Lindsay Fox (USA)|
|DNF||Erica Zaveta (USA) BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental|