Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team stood on the start line in Folsom on the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California with one goal in mind – winning the 20.3 kilometre team time trial. The last of the teams to start, Boels-Dolmans looked good for the win at the first time check, setting the fastest intermediate split by six seconds over Twenty16-Riderbiker.
The advantage was reversed at the finish line. Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team stopped the clock at 27:39, six seconds slower than Twenty16-Ridebiker. UnitedHealthcare was 25-seconds off the winning time in third place.
“We came into today’s stage really wanting to win the team time trial,” said American road champion Megan Guarnier. “With that goal in mind, that’s how we wanted to stay in yellow. We’re a little bit disappointed with second place, but we’re happy knowing we did our best. You can’t ask for more, and I know the girls had a really hard day yesterday having to chase. Their work yesterday put me in yellow, and the work today means we keep it.”
Despite the six second loss, Guarnier remains in the race leader’s yellow jersey with a 12-second advantage over Twenty16’s Kristin Armstrong. Evie Stevens moves up to third overall at 22-seconds. While Twenty16-Ridebiker’s win surprised some, Guarnier pointed out that the top team’s familiarity with the course provided them with a critical upper-hand.
“This is not our TTT team,” said Guarnier, referring to the six rider squad that will race the team time trial world championships in Qatar in October. “We were on road bikes. We didn’t preview the course until this morning – like most of the teams out there today. I know Twenty16 has specifically focused their efforts on today’s stage. They spent a lot of time and energy previewing the course. For us, we wanted to win, but it wasn’t the utmost goal. When we raced the TTT, that was only the second time we saw the course.”
“I’m not in the TTT squad, so I’m not really familiar with the whole flow of things,” Guarnier added. “I think it was a smooth TTT. I don’t think anything really went wrong. I can’t think of any points that I can specifically point to and say we could have done better here.”
The 31-year-old will line up in Santa Rosa on Saturday in the yellow race leader’s jersey. Guarnier is also leading the points and Queen of the Mountains classifications.
“I think we’re in a good position,” she said. “We have multiple cards to play with me and Evie. It’s going to be a challenging stage. The climbs are a far way out from the finish, but we have a strong team here that can animate the race and make a good result to keep me in the jersey or put Evie in it. I think we look to win the stage and hope doing that accomplishes the broader goal.”