Megan Guarnier (TIBCO/To The Top) kicked in her big engine up the finishing uphill to take the bunch sprint victory at stage 2 of the Joe Martin Stage Race – her first NRC win. With the ten seconds of time bonus, she takes over the GC lead, tied on time with Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) with two stages to go.
Lex Albrecht (Juvederm/Specialized) was second and Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) was third on the stage.
Guarnier and Holcomb are tied on time while Albrecht moved up to third on GC at 9 seconds down. Guarnier also leads the sprint competition and Courteney Lowe (FCS Cycling) remains in the white jersey as the best young rider.
The women stayed together, in a fairly leisurely pace up the first climb of the day leading to the intermediate sprint taken by Jo Kiesanowski. A quick descent to the 9-mile climb where a few attacks were tried before the feedzone. Then TIBCO tried to launch their riders on the rollers and turns but nothing was sticking so the teams settled down and got ready for the bunch sprint.
They zoomed into town and took the turns at speed jostling for position. With less than 3km to go, leader going into the stage Holcomb had a mechanical and was out of the running for the finish and the all important time bonus seconds. Kiesanowski led through the final corner with Vzesniauskaite, Guarnier and Albrecht on her wheel. She pulled off and the uphill drag race was on.
The racing continues on Saturday with the 58 miles (93 km) road race which include 2 laps of the 23-mile loop with over 1,500 feet of climbing per lap. Once again, time bonuses on the finish line of 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO/To The Top). “After the sprint, attacks started to fly and then on the 38-km climb, people started to attack but it was pretty tempo. TIBCO started to light it up after the feedzone, where it started rolling. We were pretty active there, trying to get something to go and nothing was sticking so then we just settled in, we had all of the TIBCO team there for the finish. Jo took me through the last corner and it was hill time.”
About the tricky run-in through town to finish line. “We got shuffled back a little bit into that first corner and Meredith got me right back to the front where I needed to be, and through the last corner, Jo was first wheel and then it was Modesta and me. Modesta came around Jo at about 150 meters. It was a drag race but once I started to hear my name, I kind of thought I had it but I didn’t dare ease up.” (laughs)
About defending the lead. “The team worked really hard for me today and I think we’re ready to go at it tomorrow again.”
About her first NRC win. “It’s pretty awesome and it’s pretty awesome to have this team behind me. Coming into today, I had Mer and Jo who know this race, some of the strongest rider in the NRC so I was confident in them and I just needed to follow them, stay calm. I did and they brought me to the finish line. I’m happy to pull it off for these girls because they did amazing, happy to do it for TIBCO, they’ve put a lot of time into me. It feels good, a lot of hard work these past few years.”
Lex Albrecht (Team Juvederm-Specialized). “We had pretty high expectations because I’m feeling pretty good right now and I love these uphill finishes. I was supposed to cover all the attacks from the top 5 girls just to make sure they didn’t get too much time over me, the other girls were covering any of the other attacks. At the end, I had a nice setup, my teammate Vero Labonte got me up in the front in the last two corners so I was perfectly placed and then I just had to sprint to the end. I missed it by a bit but I got second so we’re pretty happy with that, it moves us up on GC a little bit and we’re just going to keep on racing strong.”
Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo). “We were coming in with about 3 km to go, at that point it was all together in a bunch. Kristin was perfect up front to cover things, Modesta and I were together and it was brilliant. I was in the middle, pedaling easy, easy in the big ring and all of sudden I heard a crunching and I just assumed I had somehow dropped a chain on the inside and so I down-shifted but I had really dropped it on the outside. By this time, I had made the problem worst and then the chain had broken and it was on its side. Someone behind me yelled ‘no, no, no you need a bike change’. Rachel pulled right up and James gave me a quick bike change but at that point, they’re gone. ”
Kristin Sanders (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo). “It was not very animated all the way through the climb, there were some attacks on the climb, a handful or a little bit more. Our goal was to protect Janel to the end, no matter what and we did that, all the way through the climb and even across the top there were a few attacks but it really started to get animated, TIBCO got a lot more aggressive after the climb. We surfed and surfed, tried to re-arrange a little bit, let Modesta have a little bit more rest, Janel and I took a little bit more of the heat at that point. I think they all gave up with about 10 miles to go so we all rolled into town. The girls were feeling good, we had our jobs and plans, and then it gets hairy coming in through these corners and each of us had our responsibilities and we did the best we could. Then we had a little unfortunate incident, Janel had to have a bike change at the worst possible time coming into the finishing chute. It’s part of bike racing.”
“Fight again tomorrow. I’m not unhappy, we’re still in it. Modesta rode a great race, Janel raced a superb race. This race is always close, it’s down to the wire every year.”
Top 10 Stage 2 Results (Complete Results)
1. Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO/To The Top) 2:45:22
2. Lex Albrecht (Team Juvederm-Specialized)
3. Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
4. Courteney Lowe (FCS Cycling Team)
5. Kate Chilcott (FCS Cycling Team)
6. Kristen Lasasso (Primal/MapMyRide Womens Racing)
7. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO/To The Top)
8. Emily Kachorek (Primal/MapMyRide Womens Racing)
9. Kristin Sanders (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
10. Melissa Ross (Team Kenda p/b Geargrinder)
Top 10 GC After Stage 2 (Complete Results)
1. Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO/To The Top) 2:55:03
2. Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
3 Lex Albrecht (Team Juvederm-Specialized) 0:09
4. Ruth Clemence (SC Velo – Empower Coaching) 0:13
5. Kathryn Donovan (SC Velo – Empower Coaching) 0:17
6. Courteney Lowe (FCS Cycling Team) 0:24
7. Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) 0:28
8. Kristen Lasasso (Primal/MapMyRide Womens Racing) 0:29
9. Kristin Sanders (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
10. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO/To The Top) 0:35