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Posts tagged ‘Megan Guarnier’

New UCI Country Rankings, U.S. up to fourth

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.

Video: Evie Stevens Wins Flèche Wallonne, Podium and Finish Replay

Thanks @ednl for the video. Super impressive win from Evie Stevens of Specialized lululemon on the Mur de Huy. She followed the wheel of four-time winner Marianne Vos, then with picture perfect timing, came around to win by a bike-length and then some. Linda Villumsen of GreenEdge finished third, well back from the leading pair.

At the beginning of the year, Stevens said that Flèche Wallonne was among the races she would most like to win. She believed the final climb suited her, but she had struggled in the past with the narrow, technical roads that lead to the final climb. Earlier this season, Stevens crashed trying to follow an attack from Marianne Vos at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. This time, Stevens kept the bike upright.

From the start, her coaches have raved about her power and her physiology – that Stevens has that perfect balance of strength, weight, and speed to win the big races. Now, we finally start to see what the fuss has been all about.

Also notable, Megan Guarnier of Team Tibco finished seventh on the Mur de Huy. Guarnier is a rider on the move – she won her first international race last year at the Giro di Toscana. She is more in the mold of a sprinter than Stevens, but seventh in this World Cup is a big step forward for Guarnier, an ex-swimmer turned bike racer.

For the U.S., the results from Guarnier and Stevens are good news. The U.S. started the season on the knife edge of the Olympic selection game. Would the U.S. get two starts or three starts in London? Much depended on how the U.S. riders finished in these early season races. I haven’t done the math just yet, but today’s race should help that cause significantly.

At the beginning of the season, Tibco team owner Linda Jackson said she was committed to helping the women chase the UCI points necessary to make it to the Olympics and she arranged for the team – including Guarnier – to travel to Europe to race. It takes a village.

For Stevens personally, this result should also help her cause in the selection game. And if the U.S. does in fact get those three starts? Guarnier looks better and better as a possible pick for London.

Certainly, the list is shrinking: Stevens, Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, and Megan Guarnier have the most recent top level results of the American women.

Video: Evie Stevens Wins Flèche Wallonne, Podium and Finish Replay

Meredith Miller: Dear Megan

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