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.
For the second time in three years, the quaint city of Folsom in Sacramento County will provide the backdrop for what is expected to be a dramatic day of racing on Friday at the men’s and women’s Amgen Tour of California. The fast and flat 20km course should prove decisive in both general classification battles with the men racing against the clock individually and the women covering the kilometers in a team effort, a first for the women’s field at America’s Greatest Race.
It’s just over two weeks until the start of the second Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM, which is part of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour. For lay people, that means the best women’s teams and most accomplished riders in the world will gather in the Golden State May 19-22 to put on a thrilling four-stage cycling spectacle not to be missed.
One of the many reasons the Amgen Tour of California is known as “America’s Greatest Race” is because it showcases the extraordinary athletic talents of some of the world’s greatest cyclists. After a struggling Slovak arrived in California last May, Peter Sagan had a career year by winning the tenth anniversary Amgen Tour of California by the slimmest of margins before surprising yet again last fall when he pounced to win the UCI Road World Championship. On Saturday, 2015 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial winner Evelyn Stevens rewrote the history books to become the new UCI Hour Record holder.
Forty-eight hours after winning the Tour of Qatar, Mark Cavendish was back home in England spending Valentine’s Day with his wife, Peta Todd. As the couple drove through the Tottenham Hale section north of London, they came upon a female cyclist stranded at the side of the road struggling with cold hands to change a flat tire. The former UCI World Champion and multi-time Amgen Tour of California stage winner hopped out of the car, popped out the deflated front wheel and changed the tire for her. The gentlemanly gesture capped an eventful week for the Manx Missile. On Friday, Cav earned a time bonus for his second place finish on stage 5 that enabled him to retain the yellow jersey on his shoulders as the GC winner. He won the opening stage, gave up the jersey after Wednesday’s stage 3 individual time trial to his Dimension Data teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen and took it back for good on Thursday after Boasson Hagen suffered a rare double puncture in the final 10km of Stage 4. It wasn’t the way he wanted to win the overall, which he felt belonged to his Norwegian teammate, but Cavendish proved himself to be a classy champion – both in and out of competition.