Rider Diary: Three beers deep before finishing the last climb of the race

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The UCI Women’s World Tour continued today in Pennsylvania today with the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, the final UCIWWT event in North America.

Fresh off her wins at the Women’s Tour of California and the US National Road Race, Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), sporting the Women’s WorldTour leader’s jersey, continued to show her incredible form, winning the final sprint up Manayunk Wall by an impressive margin. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) won the sprint for second ahead of Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) in third.

Philadelphia - USA - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Guarnier Megan (USA / Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) pictured during the UCI Women's World Tour cycling race in Philadelphia - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016
Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) wins the 2016 Philly Bicycle Classic.

Race recap: The 118-kilometre race took place on a very challenging circuit featuring the leg-zapping Manayunk Wall and Lemon Hill. The peloton would have to complte the circuit six times before ending with an uphill finish.

The race saw an early breakaway with Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank), Anna Trevisi (Ale Cipollini) and Mieke Kröger (Canyon-SRAM) going off the front and taking the first Queen of the Mountain points on Manayunk Wall. Climbing specialist Mara Abbott (Wiggle-High5) used the hill to her advantage and bridged across the three leaders and attacked on the second time up Manayunk to claim the QOM points. Only Stephens was able to hang with Abbott, and the two continued off the front, opening up a gap of 40 seconds. The duo stayed away until the fourth time up Manayunk. Even so, Abbott continued to rake in the QOM points, proving that she is the best climber in the bunch.

The field was all together going into the bell lap, something the US team Twenty16-RideBiker didn’t like. So they sent Allie Dragoo on the attack. Dragoo, who won a stage in the Erenrgiewacht Tour in similar fashion, comfortably opened up a 20-second gap. Several riders tried to bridge across, but eventually the pack swallowed them all as they entered downtown Manayunk. Tibco-SVB and Canyon-SRAM took to the front and strung out the peloton. But it would be Boels-Dolman to take the lead as they approached the final climb. Evelyn Stevens and Karol-Ann Canuel delivered Guarnier up climb where Guarnier would sprint uncontested to the finish line.

You can watch the replay here, or watch the seven minute highlight video by the UCI:

Now let’s hear from Tibco-SVB rider Kendall Ryan, who was in the midst of it all, to learn what the race was like from within the peloton.

        – Anne-Marije Rook, Ella Editor

Celebratory finish photo: I'm a little tipsy as I took 3 beers on my way up to the top of Manayunk after I blew sky high leading my teammates out for the finale.
Celebratory finish photo: I’m a little tipsy as I took 3 beers on my way up to the top of Manayunk after I blew sky high leading my teammates out for the finale.

I’m writing to you right after the finish of an epic Philly Bicycle Classic. And I’m a little tipsy because I took 3 beers on my way up to the top of Manayunk after I blew sky high leading my teammates out for the finale.

We tried to ride an aggressive race, and be represented in every break. Lauren Stephens was in a super long break for about four laps, while we kept covering moves that were trying to bridge across. The girls were saying they felt this was the best race we’ve had together. Great communication, moving around the pack together as a unit and sharing the work load. We had race radios since it was a World Tour event, so Ed Beamon, with his calm demeanor over the radio, gave us short concise commands to make the race play out in our favor.

After suffering a big crash back in January, I’ve had a rough start to the season, mending from a broken scaphoid bone in my wrist. It feels so great to be back to racing with my teammates and fellow competitors.

Ready for the fight.
After suffering from an injury, I’m happy to be back and ready for the fight.

And today was a big day for women’s cycling.

With the men racing earlier in the day, we were the grand finale at Philly, and that’s an awesome thing. The crowds were going nuts during staging and that put a huge smile on my face. I race well when I’m in a good mood, and to have all the people out celebrating, drinking, cheering and having a good time was such a great energy for all of us. We couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. Also, a big shout out to all of you who tuned into the live stream!

Every lap I was top 10 into the bottom of Manayunk, I suffered to stay in contact with the peloton as I sifted through to the back over the top, the cheers really helped me stay in contact every time.

My job in the end was to help lead our sprinter, Brie Walle, out for the grueling charge up the Manayunk wall. This means that I had to make sure I was there on the last lap.

And boy did she not disappoint! Fifth place for us at a World Tour race against such a talented and well-decorated peloton.  There were lots of Olympians and national champions in our midst, and it’s always an honor to ride with the best of the best.

In closing, I want to give a big thanks to our host families at this race and our sponsors for letting us do what we love. I had so much fun today racing my bike and putting myself in the pain cave! Also shout out to Ella CyclingTips for letting us share our experience on Instagram and via this blog.

Until next time,

Kendall Ryan

Kendall Ryan is a 23-year-old American professional cyclist currently riding for Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank.

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