As the 2007 Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling draws near, a deep list of international team rosters were finalized this week. The three race series stops in Lancaster on June 3rd and Reading on June 7th with the racers finishing up in Philadelphia on June 10th at the Commerce Bank Philadelphia International Championship which over its 23-year history has developed into the biggest one day road race in North and South America.
ProTour team CSC will be sending ace Argentinean sprinter Juan Jose Haedo. "JJ" has proven he is the man to beat in the US this year when the race comes down to a group sprint by taking two stages of the Tour of California as well as a stage of the Tour of Georgia. ProTour team T-Mobile has committed Kiwi sprinter Greg Henderson as well. Henderson knows what it feels like to taste success on Ben Franklin Parkway and he will surely be hungry for more.
As strong as these two sprint specialist are, there will be no shortage of pressure from the rest of the field of racers. The caliber of riders confirmed by their teams to compete ensures no gifts will be given with over $130,000 in prize money on the line over the three events. The new and tougher Reading course will be one great opportunity for teams to send their climbing specialists on the attack in an attempt to steal the win from the fast finishing sprinters. Look to the Mexican Tecos De La Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara and Team Caico from Colombia to be on the attack. Both teams are loaded with diminutive climbing specialists that will be highly motivated to crack the race wide open. Team Jelly Belly will be returning this year with Andy Bajadali who was in the race's main breakaway last year and has been showing excellent form on the climbs this year.
The Navigators Insurance Team has slated Sergey Lagutin (last years overall "Triple Crown" winner) to lead their team. Sergey, who hails from Uzbekistan, proved he is a threat to win in all three races: he narrowly missed the top step of the podium in two of the three last year. Toyota United will be sending 2005 and 2002 Philadelphia International winners, Chris Wherry and Henk Vogels as well as the "Cuban Missile" Ivan Dominguez on their roster. Jackson Stewart, last year's winner in Lancaster, will be returning with a new team behind him in Team BMC.
As international as the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling has become, there will also be a strong showing of riders originally from the Philadelphia area. The Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid team will be sending Ryan DeWald, Stephan Kincaid and Bill Elliston. Scott Zwizanski will be back for his second year on the Priority Health squad. Mike Friedman, who last year set a high mark for local pros at the Philadelphia International with 8th place, will be riding for Team Slipstream. Also returning for his second year will be Princeton grad, Tyler Wren, riding for the Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light team.
See also: 2006 Triple Crown coverage