Birthday girl Megan Guarnier produced a climbing masterclass on the Côte de Cow and Calf to win the 2018 Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race.
The American Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam rider – celebrating her 33rd birthday – left her rivals behind on the iconic Yorkshire climb and was given a rapturous reception by the large crowd as she wrapped up the stage and overall victory.
Belarussian Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM Racing) was the next rider home – 14 seconds adrift – with Great Britain’s Dani Rowe just three seconds further behind.
Those results meant Guarnier took the winner’s blue jersey – sponsored by Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries – with a 17-second advantage over Rowe, with Amialiusik two seconds back in third. Bonus points accrued on the line also meant Guarnier topped the best climber classification sponsored by Virgin Trains.
Stage one winner Kirsten Wild picked up eight points on the day’s two intermediate sprints and that meant she topped the best sprinter classification sponsored by Asda, while Team Sunweb triumphed in the team classification.
After the race Guarnier was gushing in her praise for the warm Yorkshire welcome she and the rest of the peloton received, and said: “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.”
Green jersey winner Wild said: “It’s always nice to be on the podium, and I had goosebumps on that last climb. I really like this race. I have done it twice now and it’s one of the biggest we do all season. It’s been nice to see it grow to two days this year and we have really enjoyed it in Yorkshire.”
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity felt the race’s first-ever summit finish on the Cow and Calf more than lived up to its billing and hailed this year’s Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race as an unbridled success.
He said: “You only had to listen to the world’s best riders talking after the race to hear how bowled over they had been by the reception – it truly has been on an unprecedented scale.
“The peloton was given a great send-off in Barnsley and people lined the entire route as they wound their way to Ilkley for that spectacular finish. We knew the Cow and Calf would provide a magnificent conclusion and we weren’t disappointed. Megan produced a stunning ride and is a more than worthy winner.”
1 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 3:19:50
2 Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM Racing +14 sec
3 Dani Rowe (GBr) Great Britain +17 sec
4 Erica Magnaldi (Ita) BePink +22 sec
5 Ane Santesteban (Spa) Ale Cipollini
1 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 6:48:09
2 Dani Rowe (GBr) Great Britain +17 sec
3 Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-Sram Racing +19 sec
4 Liane Lippert (Ger) Team Sunweb Women +31 sec
5 Erica Magnaldi (Ita) BePink +33 sec
A Gutsy performance from both sides