World Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) will compete for the first time at the UCI 1.1-ranked Liberty Classic held on Sunday, June 5 in Philadelphia.
The Italian is hoping to add her name to the list of legendary sprinters to have won the race, but is also confident that her teammate Theresa Cliff-Ryan could do the same.
"I would be happy to win this race for sure, because so many great sprinters have won it," Bronzini told Cyclingnews. "I feel very good with this team and I'm sure that if I am not very good at the end of the race, Theresa will be there and she is in good form right now. Together we can do a very good result for the team."
Petra Rosner won the first edition of the Liberty Classic in 1996 and went on to win the race on six other occasions. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad) won the race four times, including last year. However, she will not be returning to defend her title and has chosen to compete in the World Cup event held on the same day in Spain. Former world champion Regina Schleicher also won the race from a bunch sprint.
The women will complete four laps of a challenging circuit that includes the steep 800-metre ascent of the Manayunk Wall for a total 92.8 kms. The circuits are 23.2 kms in length and will finish around Logan Square.
"I have read about this race and some of my teammates who have done this race before have explained to me what kind of race could take place on Sunday," Bronzini said. "I have not seen the course yet, maybe I will, but I know that there is a steep climb and you have to get over it with power. I think it is a similar climb as the one on the world championship course in Melbourne.
"I do think it is a good course for me but I am not in very good form right now," she added. "Maybe I will feel good during the race after a bit of a warm up in the first part of the race and then after that I will feel some good power on the climb."
Colavita Forno D'Asolo's preliminary team also includes the two notable sprinters along with Cath Cheatley, Andrea Dvorak, Barbara Guarischi, Modesta Vzesniauskaite, Heather Logan and Rushlee Buchanan. Six will start on Sunday.
"The team that we are able to bring this year is two good sprinters, two good climbers and two good domestiques," said team DS Rachel Heal. "I feel like we have basis covered for any eventuality. That doesn't mean that we will just sit back and let the race happen, we will race hard and try and dictate that the race goes the way that we want. But, we have the team to race however things play out."
Bronzini arrived in the US for the first time two weeks ago and recently placed fourth at the Tour of Somerville, behind her Cliff-Ryan who won the criterium. She will also compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix following the Liberty Classic.
"The people here in the US are happy to see the world champion's jersey at the races," Bronzini said. "They come up to me and ask for me to take a picture with them and some have given me hugs. I have also met some Italians here who came over to say hello."