By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
While the first two races of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown in Allentown and Reading were held under warm conditions, Sunday's final race in Philadelphia is looking to be a broiler with a heat wave pushing temperatures up to 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius). This combined with the 156 miles (251km) and eleven times up the infamous Manayunk Wall could affect the dynamics of the race differently than in recent years.
The last time a breakaway survived to the finish was in 2005, also the last time this was the US Pro Championship race, when Chris Wherry won the stars and stripes over Chris Horner and Danny Pate. But that move came rather late in the race with Pate attacking on the last time up the Manayunk Wall. This year the race might not have a traditional "breakaway" off the front, but rather one formed by shedding riders off the back, as the temperatures and miles add-up.
One team to watch when it comes to keeping cool is the Slipstream-Chipotle team. Their physiologist Dr. Alan Lim developed an "ice vest" that the team used prior to their team time trial win at the Tour de Georgia in April. Some of the riders were joking on Thursday telling Cyclingnews that they were thinking of wearing them in the race on Sunday. It might not be a joke after all.
The race begins at 9:00 am EDT and is expected to finish around 2:30 pm. For comparison, on Saturday the temperatures were already in the upper 80s (30 degrees Celsius) by 11:00 am with humidity levels rising up to 70% and a UV index of eight to make it feel even hotter.
Tune into Cyclingnews for complete live coverage of both the men's and women's races.