The UCI issued the latest country rankings today. The U.S. women are up to fourth. Why do we care about this? The top five countries send four riders to the Olympic Games instead of three.
The recent win from Evie Stevens at Flèche Wallonne, a second place from Kristin Armstrong at the Ronde, and a string of consistent placings from Megan Guarnier have helped the U.S. climb up the rankings. The rolling points system means that Amber Neben carries the bulk of the U.S. points. Check out the rider points here.
The U.K. moved up to fifth. Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armitstead have brought the U.K. the bulk of their points. Sweden dropped from fourth to sixth. Emma Johansson has had a slower start to the season than usual, thanks to a training accident, and she is Sweden’s top ranked rider.
The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy sit securely in the top three. Marianne Vos and Judith Arndt are the big riders for the Netherlands and Germany, while Italy relies on the awesome threesome of Giorgia Bronzini, Tatiana Guderzo, and Noemi Cantele.
Should the U.S. hold its top five position, it should mean considerably less Drama for the team selection process. Evie Stevens, Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, and Megan Guarnier have the top international results, presently.
Megan Guarnier won yesterday’s prologue at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Guarnier is one of the up and coming talents in U.S. women’s racing. Last year, she won the Giro di Toscana. She told me it was purely accidental. She was really trying to win the points jersey. All accidents should be so nice.
Meredith Miller is a former U.S. national champion, and usually rides as road captain for Team Tibco. Miller is the kind of strong, calm rider who holds a team together and who routinely sacrifices her own ambitions for the team’s successes. Miller is taking a break after a long cross season, but she took the time to write Megan a letter. It’s lovely. Really, just go read it.
Toscana wasn’t an easy Tour to win, but you did. I’m confident you know what it takes. You have a strong team around you. Your teammates give you so many cards to play. If you race like a single unit, support one another, keep your teammates motivated and remain comfortable asking for help, the team will come through for you – and you will go home with the yellow jersey on your back.
Guarnier will have her work cut out for her to hold on to the race lead. Amber Neben of Specialized-lululemon is currently second. Ali Powers of NOW is third.
Neben made a wild dash from El Salvador, where she was chasing UCI points. She won the Pan-American time trial championship, and was leading the Tour of El Salvador until a bike-eating monster pothole ended her chances. Neben made it to Redlands in time to grab seven hours of sleep and then, race to a second place. That’s pro, right there.
The women are on the road now racing the second stage, the Beaumont road race.
Meredith Miller: Dear Megan
Local girl Amber Neben of Specialized-lululemon gives a preview of this weekend’s San Dimas stage race. Neben is also doing a fundraiser for her Dare To Be project on Sunday after the race. Dare To Be raises money to give bicycles to kids whose families can’t afford to buy them. Amber, Loren Rowney, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Clara Hughes, Katie Colclough, and Ally Stacher will ride for Specialized-lululemon.
There should be some fab racing going down this weekend with all the top U.S. teams – Tibco, NOW/Novartis, Vanderkitten, and Optum – fired up and in the house. The race starts today with an uphill time trial on Glendora Mountain Road. Youch.
Best of luck to all my friends racing!
Meanwhile in Cali…. San Dimas Stage Race