By Kristy Scrymgeour
"Someone else will win" the Women's Liberty Classic in Philadelphia this year, joked seven-time winner of the event Petra Rossner. A race that she has practically made her own over the years, Rossner added that perhaps "tomorrow will be the first time this year that I will miss racing my bike since I retired." Rossner retired from racing at the end of last year on a winning note with yet another World Cup victory and immediately accepted an offer to be the Director Sportif for the Nurnberger team for 2005. She is back again in Philadelphia, a race that she has always loved, but this time in a different role and as usual she was mysterious about her strategy for the day.
A huge field of women will line up to race four laps of the 22km course for a total of 96km. Traditionally the race has been set up for Rossner by her team (German National Team, Saturn and Nurnberger over the years) and has come down to a bunch sprint at the end of the day. But Lyne Bessette proved in 2003 that a late solo breakaway could also accomplish the result when she attacked on Lemon Hill and held off the chasing bunch for the win. With such a strong field here a few different outcomes are possible but a bunch sprint is very likely with Nurnberger bringing along two very strong sprinters in Regina Schleicher and Oenone Wood, as well as the sprinters dominating the US scene such as Tina Pic and Laura Van Gilder from Quark, Gina Grain (Victory Brewing) and of course Ina Yoko Teutenberg from T-Mobile.
Cyclingnews caught up with riders from the defending team who are confident in their chances. Oenone Wood who has been on fire this year and is leading the World Cup Series for the second year running. She is also coming off two stage wins of Tour of Montreal and three stage wins at Tour de L'Aude. Having never raced this course before she said, "I haven't seen the circuit yet. I'm sure we'll be having a look at in the next couple of days but we've got a great team here so we have every chance of having a great result."
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