Less than a week after using a Stage 1 victory and consistently high placings to pave the way to the overall win at the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM, Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) won her second consecutive Volkswagen Professional Road National Championship in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Saturday. For the 31-year-old from Glens Falls, New York, it was her third career national title dating back to 2012. In the men’s event, 21-year-old Greg Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) won his first USA Cycling Pro Road National Championship, launching himself to triumph with a perfectly-timed attack in the final 800 meters on the climb to the finish.
Fresh from the Amgen Tour of California, the American men and women pros are in Winston-Salem, North Carolina this weekend for the 2016 Volkswagen Pro Road National Championships. On Friday, Taylor Phinney (BMC) won his third national time trial championship and Carmen Small (Cervelo Bigla) won her second national title. Both athletes won the right to wear the coveted red, white and blue skinsuits in time trials for the next year.
Two of the most exciting aspects of The Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM are the diversity of the course route, and the strength of the field. The winner of the first ever UCI Women’s World Tour Race would be tested over the nearly ever considerable type of terrain: from Mountain Stages, to Team Time Trial’s, to flat but technical Criterium Circuits - to win this race you must be a well-rounded cyclist and have a strong team.
One of the most exciting parts of the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race is that with 18 of the best teams in the world, and only four stages available to win, the competition for stages and the yellow jersey is fierce.
Many riders described Stage 7 as the true Queen Stage of the race with the only true summit finish coming early in the week on Stage 3. The course traveled across the narrow, twisty, and undulating roads of Sonoma County just west of Santa Rosa – throughout the day there wasn’t a moment of rest or time to lose concentration. With the general classification standings very close on this tough day, the racing was aggressive and we saw an early selection of 50 riders form as riders fell victim to the regions’ short steep climbs.
Stage 8 was the shortest and easiest day of the week with only 86 miles of flat roads in Sacramento. After 700 miles and 7 continuous days of racing, the peloton was full of tired bodies. With the exception of top sprinters, most riders were content with just riding in the pack, but Chris Putt’s heart rate data below shows it’s more than a walk in the park just to stay with the pack.