‘If there’s one thing I’m good at,” she says, chuckling, “it’s rambling chats.”
Her good humour is contagious and easy, and at the mention of Smiley the soigneur, our conversation turns swiftly to team nicknames.
“Danny’s the mastermind of nicknames,” she says. “He calls me Calimero. It’s this little cartoon bird. The bird wears an eggshell on his head because he forgot to grow, and I’m the smallest one on the team, so…. Anyway, the bird always says, ‘It’s not fair. You are big and I am small,’ and Danny says he can just see me in the peloton with all these giant people around, and me saying ‘It’s not fair.’ (Danny Stam, Boels-Dolmans Team Director and bestow-er of said nickname, tells me later that he’d seen Megan in a TT helmet one day, and that visual made him think of it. After that, it just stuck.)
It seems fitting that her nickname originates from a story like this, since the year so far has been somewhat of a storybook season. And it’s even more fitting that this small but powerful rider, with the odds seemingly stacked against her, should have such a big year.
You could say it started at Strade Bianche, with a dominant, solo victory in the first women’s iteration of this prestigious race. The performance held two hallmarks of Guarnier’s consistent style—patience and determination. Soloing off the front, the image of Megan, arms in the air crossing the line with not a soul in sight, is the kind of photo parents hang above the mantel. It’s a dominant victory, with the elation of the finish writ large on her face. Is it a different feeling, that moment of victory at Strade, when compared it with something like a grand tour?
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