By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
After recently solidifying her ticket to Beijing this August with the Dutch Olympic team, Chantal Beltman (High Road Women) turned her excitement into a solo victory for High Road during the Liberty Classic held in Philadelphia. All the more gratifying, given that success in this criterium-like event typically comes in a field sprint.
"This was a really big race on the women's calendar and the atmosphere was wonderful," said Beltman, who made her move over the top of Lemon Hill, three kilometres from the finish. "For our team, being a US-based team now, we were really focused on winning this race. It's so exciting that we were able to do it again."
The Dutch woman separated herself from a late-break of four that contained two of her own team-mates, soloing to the win, while her three companions were swallowed up by the main field. American Brooke Millar (Tibco) surprised the crowd when she initiated the gallop to the line with three hundred meters to go, holding off Triple Crown winner Ina Teutenberg (High Road Women) to take second place.
"I wasn't sure at all if I was going to be able to stay away from a sprinters' field but that's the great thing about being on such a strong team - you don't have to worry about that, you can just go," continued Beltman. "That made it easy for me to give it everything I had."
The Palo Alto, California, native Millar was happy to have taken second place, the best result of her career. "This was a race I was really gunning for and we had a great team presence, ready to win," said Millar, who was vying to be the first American to win the event and break the German winning streak.
Full results, report and photos are available.