Greg Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) won his first pro road national championship, while Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) claimed her second consecutive and third overall title since 2012, as the 2016 Volkswagen Professional Road National Championships concluded on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
As in 2015, Guarnier edged Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) at the line, crossing one second ahead of Rivera in 3:48:20. Mandy Heintz (Houston, Texas/Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling) finished third with the same time.
“Obviously it was a bigger bunch at the finish, and it’s a bigger gamble when it comes down to that, especially with strong sprinters like Coryn,” Guarnier said. “It was a tough sprint, and there was a lot going on in the final. I just had to stay focused and look for that line.
“It’s surreal because I’m still the same Megan, and I’m still racing as hard as I can. Every day, it’s a new challenge.”
It was Guarnier’s third road race national championship since 2012.
The nine-lap, 140km race saw multiple attacks that did not ultimately stick, as Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling, TWENTY16 Ridebiker, Hagens Berman-Supermint Pro Cycling Team, Colavita-Bianchi Racing and others sent riders to the front throughout the day.
Following a breakaway by Kathryn Donovan (Colavita-Bianchi racing) and Nina Laughlin (Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling), Whitney Allison (Colavita-Bianchi), Scott
In the men’s race, the undulating course and North Carolina heat whittled the field from 80 to 25, and Daniel took the win in 4:21:34, followed by Alex Howes (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Travis McCabe (Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Racing) in 4:21:39.
“I think deep down I didn’t think it was possible, like maybe there’s a 0.1% chance,” said Daniel. “I had really good legs today, but I still can’t believe it. I’m expecting myself to wake up in bed thinking, ‘Oh yeah, that’s just a dream.’”
Daniel picked up the win in the final half lap of the 12-lap, 187km race, making his move in the last 5km on the heels of a breakaway effort by teammate Logan Owen (Axeon Hagens Berman) the lap prior.
Various large groups held lengthy breaks all afternoon, led mostly by the sizeable Rally Cycling contingent and riders that include Daniel, Howes, McCabe, 2014 champion Eric Marcotte (Team Jamis), 2015 champion Matthew Busche (UnitedHealthcare), Kiel Reijnen (Trek Factory Racing) and others. Daniel made his move at the Volkswagen Climb, just 800 meters from the finish, and managed to stay away for the win five seconds ahead of his challengers.
“In the last lap, it was Logan off the front, so I could just relax and not do anything,” Daniel said. “When he got caught, there were a few moves off the front, but I think everyone was just kind of tired at that point. I was just following wheels.”
|1.||Gregory Daniel (Englewood, Colo.)||Axeon Hagens Berman||4:21:34|
|2.||Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo.)||Cannondale Pro Cycling||4:21:39|
|3.||Travis Mccabe (Tucson, Ariz.)||Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team||4:21:39|
|1.||Megan Guarnier (San Mateo, Calif.)||Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||3:48:20|
|2.||Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.)||UnitedHealthcare||3:48:21|
|3.||Mandy Heintz (Houston, Texas)||Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling||3:48:21|