Fayetteville, AR – Megan Guarnier of Dr. Vie Team TIBCO USA followed up her 3rd place in the opening time trial yesterday by taking a convincing win in the Stage 2 road race. The 10-second time bonus for the stage winner was enough – barely – to take over the lead in the general classification, by a half a second over Stage 1 winner Janel Holcomb, who moves to 2nd overall.
“Our goal at the start of the stage was to get Megan the win and the time bonus,” said Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt. “The Team rode an incredible race and executed perfectly to put Megan in position for the win. Everyone did exactly what they needed to do, and Megan paid them back for their work.”
Over the first part of the 64-mile race, the pack mostly stayed together, but after the main climb of the day, Hunt said the team tried to thin the pack a bit.
“We put in some attacks, but nothing was staying away,” she said, “so at that point we decided to play it smart and put it together for the finish. We went over the end of the stage before the start and put together a strategy and they executed the lead-out perfectly.”
In the final kilometers, Team TIBCO took over control of the front of the race.
“You can’t go too early on this finish,” Hunt said. “Otherwise you can run out of steam before the finishing straight.”
The stage ends with a pair of turns in quick succession, followed by about 800 meters of rollers before the final right-hander that leads to a roughly 300-meter, finishing straight that climbs at a grade of about 4 percent. Coming through the rollers, Joanne Kiesanowski of Team TIBCO drove the front of the first group. In the jostling for position on one of the climbs, Guarnier got pushed back a bit through the pack and lost Kiesanowski’s wheel.
But Meredith Miller put in a big effort to pull Guarnier back up to the front. A few hundred meters from the final turn, Guarnier and Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita) were battling for Kiesanowski’s wheel.
“I decided to let Modesta take Jo’s wheel,” Guarnier said. “We were still a bit from the last turn and Jo had been on the front for a while and I knew that if Jo pulled off right after the turn, it was way too far out to start the sprint. So I sat on Modesta’s wheel, and when Jo pulled off after the last turn, there was still at least 250 meters to go.
“Modesta won this stage last year, so we knew she would be formidable in the sprint,” Guarnier said. “I just tried to be patient, stay calm and wait for to start fading.”
That moment came with about 150 meters to go. Guranier went to the other side of the rode and hit the gas. Vzesniauskaite ended up 3rd, while Lex Albrecht (Juvederm-Specialized) jumped into 2nd on the stage. Miller onto the front group after her effort to get Guarnier back to the front of the race was able to take 7th on the stage.
“I have to give it up to my teammates today,” Guarnier said. “They took care of me all day and put me in perfect position at the end. Jo and Meredith were awesome in the final couple kilometers, and Serena (Sheridan) and Carlee (Taylor) both did amazing work today. This was definitely a team win all around.”
Despite suffering a mechanical with about 2 km to go, Holcomb was given the same time as the front group, so she stands only fractions of a second behind Guarnier in the overall.
Guarnier will look to maintain and extend her lead Saturday, when the Joe Martin Stage Race serves up another hill 63-mile road stage.
Go girl. from Dr. Vie Team.
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