Barbara Guarischi has given CANYON//SRAM Racing its second win in as many days at Omloop van Borsele today in the Netherlands. Guarischi sprinted to victory from a select group ahead of Floortje Mackaij (TLP) and Christine Majerus (DLT).
Windy and trying conditions were throughout the 137km course. Guarischi suffered a broken front wheel from another rider's crash at the crucial moment of the race. Believe it or not that crucial moment was already in the first 3km. When the 170 rider peloton moved from an open road to a narrow dijk with strong crosswinds, action started and didn't stop for the remainder of the day. Following the wheel change Guarischi found herself in the 5th and last group on the road and at one point was over two minutes behind.
"I really felt like I did a 90km ITT today! That mechanical happened at a really unfortunate time, and I thought okay now all I can do is fight to get back. I was angry like you couldn't imagine. After about 50km of chasing and chasing full gas I thought okay that's it, the race really is now over for me, I won't get back." While the peloton ahead split and came together continuously Guarischi slowly moved from group to group, edging closer to the main peloton. But it wasn't until a lull in the front just before the final four local laps that Guarischi bridged across with three riders to rejoin the peloton.
Alexis Ryan and Elena Cecchini were always positioned in the front group and representing the team. Unfortunately Ryan had a crash in the last hour and was not able to make it back to the front. With 40km to go the peloton again split. Guarischi explains "At that moment we jump in the first small lap and the peloton split. It was hard to stay in the front but it was my safest bet. After Alexis crashed, then Elena and I tried to control the situation and be smart to arrive in the sprint."
"Elena did a really good job in the last lap and in the last 5km. She jumped in every breakaway and in the last 3km she tried alone. Brand (RLT) went with her and worked, and Blaak (DLT) jumped and sat on their wheel. At the end Elena didn't stay away and it was a small bunch sprint. I went into the sprint first and I won. It was a hard race for me. But you know, I just love that feeling of winning. This is the best."
Guarischi later thanked her team, "This victory is for the staff who work hard behind the scenes, for Beth and Ronny that give us the best. This victory is for all of our sponsors that support and believe in us. Big thank you. And last but definitely not least thank you girls, I'm proud to be part of WMNcycling."
Guarischi will pin on a number again tomorrow when the team races UCI 1.1 Dwars door de Westhoek in Belgium. She will be joined by Elena Cecchini, Hannah Barnes, Alexis Ryan and Mieke Kröger. The racing action will be on the team's twitter @WMNcycling.