By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Organizers of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of cycling, in and around Philadelphia in the first week of June, have announced the bulk of the teams set to compete for the US$100,000 in prizes for three races $10,000 of which goes solely to the series winner.
Leading the pack are two ProTour teams, High Road and Team CSC, which both having sponsorship interest in North America. High Road's Bernhard Eisel won the overall last year, winning the first two races in Lancaster and Reading, and finishing third in the field sprinter on the final race in Philadelphia. CSC's sprinter JJ Haedo took that field sprint continuing his winning ways on this continent.
Also packing a punch will be the Slipstream-Chipotle team as it prepares for its Tour de France debut. Not to be discounted are top domestic teams, including Health Net-Maxxis which won many races in its history, including two by Kiwi Greg Henderson in 2006, which helped secure his current place on High Road. Toyota-United will be another to watch with sprinter Ivan Dominguez, B world champion Ivan Stevic and Canadian Dominique Rollin. This could be the first opportunity for JJ Haedo's younger brother Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home,) winner of the recent US Air Force Classic, to go head-to-head with big bro.
The Canadian Symmetrics team with last year's UCI America Tour winner Svein Tuft will be on hand again representing one of seven international team, with two more to be determined. Two European domestic teams are making the trip across the pond, including Ireland's new Pezula Racing team and Team Sparkasse from Germany. Tecos-Trek will also be competitive, having recently won the Tour of the Gila overall last week.
The three-race series begins June 3 with a new race, the Lehigh Valley Classic, which replaces the Lancaster venue. The parcours features an 136km, 12-lap circuit race that races through Allentown. Two days later, the third edition of the Reading Classic features three times up Mt. Penn. Finally, the 24th annual Philadelphia International Championship features 250km and ten ascents of the infamous 18 percent grades of the Manayunk Wall. Cyclingnews will have live, up-to-the minute coverage of all three events, as well as the women's Liberty Classic.
US Pro Continental Teams
Tecos - Trek
2 - TBA
US Continental Teams
Bissell Pro Cycling
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast
Team Successful Living
TIME Pro Cycling
Team Type 1