Photos: SWPix.com and Maria David
Megan Guarnier’s Tour de Yorkshire ended on a high, literally, as she stormed up the iconic Cow and Calf climb ahead of Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM Racing) and Dani Rowe (Team GB) on the final day of the two-stage ASDA Women’s Tour de Yorkshire.
This year’s competition was extended to a two-day stage race, with the finale being at the summit of Cow and Calf. Guarnier, a team-mate of Lizzie Deignan (who is currently pregnant), had been the overall pre-race favourite, so when the 108-strong peloton rolled out for the 124km-stage from Barnsley it was a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the American would show her hand.
This happened just after the West Yorkshire town of Ilkley, on the last climb when the Boels Dolmans team led out their protected rider so that Guarnier could launch her attack up through Ilkley Moor. The likes of Amialiusik, Rowe, and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) followed in hot pursuit up the 1.8km climb at an 8.2% average gradient, while the peloton splintered into several pieces behind.
Guarnier increased the lead on her rivals, including on the final steep kick up to the finish line in front of hundreds of spectators outside the Cow and Calf pub. Amialiusik was second across the line, while Rowe came home third.
While this victory for Guarnier also gave her the overall win for the Tour de Yorkshire, it was Team GB’s Rowe who leapfrogged Amialiusik into second place in the final standings thanks to the time bonuses she had accrued, leaving the Canyon-SRAM Racing rider to complete the complete the podium.
“It is a real honour to win this race and it’s my first victory of the year so I’m excited. I have never, ever seen so many people on a finishing climb and so many people cheering us on. That really helped bring me home because I was full gas at the end.” – Megan Guarnier