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Teutenberg wins Liberty Classic for fifth time

By:
Peter Hymas

Gilmore, Bronzini round out podium from bunch sprint

German champion Ina Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) wins her fifth Liberty Classic

German champion Ina Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) wins her fifth Liberty Classic

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Ina Teutenberg has added to the German domination of the women's Liberty Classic in Philadelphia, taking her fifth win here ahead of Rochelle Gilmore (Faren Honda) and world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora - Pasta Zara) in the bunch kick.

The Specialized-lululemon rider cruised to the win at the end of the 98km race, but still has two more victories to achieve to equal the record of her compatriot Petra Rossner, who won seven times. So far, the Germans have won 13 of the 17 editions of the race, while no US rider has been able to win.

Once a late race attack from Tiffany Cromwell (GreenEdge-AIS) was neutralised, Teutenberg, the reigning German road champion, put her vast experience plus trusted lead-out rider Trixi Worrack to work in the finale to overtake the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies lead-out train.

"Trixi and me are a good pair," said Teutenberg. "She's such a good bike handler and I know to trust her. She just says 'have your position and I'll come and get you'. With a kilometer to go and I let her in, followed her, and with 400 meters to go she launched her attack and it was perfect.

"At the end I new it was hard for people to come past me because I closed the door on the left and they had to be in the wind, too. With 150 metres to go everybody was in the wind."

Despite a less than ideal start to her day, Teutenberg triumphed once again on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway in her 13th start.

"I actually woke up with a bit of a stomach bug this morning and I didn't know how I would feel, but it didn't affect me at all, which was good," said Teutenberg. "It's kind of like basketball with Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan getting sick, you don't think about other things and it actually probably helped me. It took a bit of pressure away.

"I was a bit worried until I started to eat during the race, but when I held that down I knew everything was fine. I've done this race 13 times and I know that sometimes you have really shitty legs for three laps and then the last lap is okay. If you have a bad day up the hill (Manayunk Wall) you just forget about it because it's still a long way to the finish.

"Today I felt all right and I was never really in trouble on the hill, but I had years when I was in trouble but it still rolls back together."

Runner-up Rochelle Gilmore was well-positioned in the closing kilometres, but Teutenberg was simply too powerful for the 30-year-old Australian.

"The last few kilometres went very smooth for me because it was fast," said Gilmore. "It was to my advantage because I'm really good at holding position and I like a really fast finish because it keeps everything safe.

"I had really good position on Ina's wheel and conscious that Giorgia Bronzini was behind me. In the last 200 metres I was feeling really confident behind Ina because she kicked reasonably early. But it's the perfect sprint for Ina and although I felt quite comfortable with 100 metres to go she just hit another gear and there's no coming off of her. She's the fastest in the world in a sprint like this. I'm happy to have finished second to her today."

World champion Giorgia Bronzini, the defending Liberty Classic champion, is still recovering from several recent crashes which tempered her approach to the sprint finale.

"In the sprint I didn't take the right wheel, the wheel of Ina, because there were many fighting for her wheel," said Bronzini. "So I was back and had to start my sprint before I would usually make my perfect acceleration. I spent so long [moving up] that I was tired before I made it to the finish line.

"Day by day I feel better, but I'm not on good form," said Bronzini, still sporting bandages from her crashes. "It's more mental, I was a bit afraid. Usually, all the time I fight for my best position but today I was afraid to push again. I can't take risks this year because it's an Olympic year, so I prefer third place rather than try to win and crash again."

The 128-rider strong women's field rolled off the start line on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 10:55am amidst a picture perfect Sunday for the Liberty Classic's 17th edition. The women's field faced four laps of a 23.6km circuit which takes the peloton out to Manayunk and back on Kelly Drive along the east bank of the scenic Schuylkill River, replete with its famed Boathouse Row rowing clubs. At the far end of the parcours the riders face the event's signature feature, the Manayunk Wall and its maximum pitch of 17 percent, and on the way back to the finish line near the Philadelphia Museum of Art the peloton faces two short forays off of Kelly Drive, Strawberry Mansion and Lemon Hill.

Strong headwinds on the way out to Manayunk put a damper on the pace, but powerhouse teams such as Specialized-lululemon, Exergy Twenty12 and GreenEdge-AIS applied strong pressure each time up the Wall which markedly thinned the peloton's ranks each ascent. Queen of the Mountain points were on offer at the top of the Manayunk Wall each climb, including double points on the final ascent, and Exergy Twenty12's Kristin McGrath would emerge as the victor in the classification.

Nonetheless, the field's top shelf sprinters weathered the climbs with aplomb and most of the fast twitch set seemed unfazed.

"The race was not so hard and I think the wind was a bad chance for riders in the group to attack," said Bronzini. "The Wall never made a difference to me because I felt good during the race."

Runner-up Rochelle Gilmore, too, felt at home in Manayunk. "People made the top of the Wall their finish line each lap. I went over the Wall in the top ten every lap, I felt quite comfortable and never had to fight to be in the top ten," said Gilmore. "I had a little bit of an extra gear if it ever really did break up and it probably would have been a little better for me if it was even harder."

At times the women's peloton did split up after the climb, but as has been the case for most Liberty Classics all of the best sprinters would arrive together in the finale to vie for top honours and the 2012 edition would add another textbook field sprint finish to the storied race's annals.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ina Teutenberg (Ger) Team Specialized - lululemon 2:29:08  
2 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Faren Honda Team    
3 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Diadora - Pasta Zara    
4 Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
5 Joelle Numainville (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
6 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) TIBCO - To The Top    
7 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (USA) Exergy Twenty12    
8 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom    
9 Lenore Pipes (Gum) Pure Energy Cycling ProAri-HFA    
10 Alessandra D'ettorre (Ita) Diadora - Pasta Zara    
11 Emily Collins (NZl) Vanderkitten-Focus    
12 Jessie MacLean (Aus) Greenedge - AIS    
13 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Team Specialized - lululemon    
14 Debbie Milne (USA) Mellow Mushroom    
15 Kate Chilcott (NZl) Vanderkitten-Focus    
16 Jennifer Purcell (USA) TIBCO - To The Top    
17 Lauren Stephens (USA) FCS|Rouse p/b Mr. Restore    
18 Veronique Labonte (Can) Real Deal Racing/Labicicletta    
19 Carmen McNellis Small (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
20 Shara Gillow (Aus) Greenedge - AIS    
21 Loren Rowney (Aus) Team Specialized - lululemon    
22 Inga Cilvinaite (Ltu) Diadora - Pasta Zara    
23 Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) Exergy Twenty12    
24 Amber Neben (USA) Team Specialized - lululemon    
25 Lindsay Myers (USA) TIBCO - To The Top    
26 Lauren Hall (USA) TIBCO - To The Top    
27 Kathleen Billington (USA) Vanderkitten-Focus 0:00:21  
28 Janel Holcomb (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
29 Denise Ramsden (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
30 Kristen Lasasso (USA) Mellow Mushroom    
31 Lindsay Bayer (USA) Mellow Mushroom 0:00:32  
32 Anna Sanders (USA) FCS|Rouse p/b Mr. Restore    
33 Nik Vogler (Can) Pro-Team Specialized-Mazda-SGC    
34 Martha Buckley (USA) FCS|Rouse p/b Mr. Restore    
35 Jessica Chong (USA) Pure Energy Cycling ProAri-HFA    
36 Myriam Gaudreault (Can) Real Deal Racing/Labicicletta    
37 Evelyn Stevens (USA) Team Specialized - lululemon    
38 Laura Medley (Aus) MVP Health Care Cycling    
39 Mary Zider (USA) Colavita-ESPNw    
40 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Greenedge - AIS    
41 Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy Twenty12    
42 Mindy Simmons (USA) Mellow Mushroom    
43 Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
44 Alexis Rhodes (Aus) Greenedge - AIS 0:00:49  
45 Jasmin Hurikino (Aus) Vanderkitten-Focus    
46 Amanda Miller (USA) TIBCO - To The Top    
47 Kristin Mcgrath (USA) Exergy Twenty12    
48 Leah Guloien (Can) Colavita-ESPNw    
49 Amy McGuire (USA) FCS|Rouse p/b Mr. Restore 0:01:15  
50 Ally Stacher (USA) Team Specialized - lululemon    
51 Tayler Wiles (USA) Exergy Twenty12    
52 Polona Batagelj (Slo) Diadora - Pasta Zara    
53 Liza Rachetto (USA) Forno d'Asolo Colavita    
54 Erin Silliman (USA) MVP Health Care Cycling    
55 Kathleen Lysakowski (USA) Farm Team Elite Women's Racing    
56 Carolyn Cartmill (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery    
57 Samantha Schneider (USA) TIBCO - To The Top    
58 Amanda Watson (USA) Tradewinds Racing    
59 Jenny Ives (USA) Farm Team Elite Women's Racing 0:02:10  
60 Jamie Dinkins (USA) Colavita-ESPNw    
61 Melissa Ross (USA) Team Kenda p/b Geargrider    
62 Elizabeth Bonilla (USA) Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom    
63 Ainhoa Perez (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team 0:02:28  
64 Cheri Fager (USA) Pure Energy Cycling ProAri-HFA    
65 Jennifer Triplett (USA) CAWES/iFRACTAL p/b Specialized 0:04:39  
66 Anne-Marie B. Morin (Can) Pro-Team Specialized-Mazda-SGC    
67 Dana Walton (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team    
68 Julie Lafrenière (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery    
69 Kate Veronneau (USA) Pure Energy Cycling ProAri-HFA    
70 Sue McQuiston (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team    
71 Bridie O'Donnell (Aus) Vanderkitten-Focus    
72 Stephanie Swan (USA) Tradewinds Racing    
73 Chiara Nadalutti (Ita) Faren Honda Team    
74 Amber Pierce (USA) Diadora - Pasta Zara    
75 Kelly Benjamin (USA) Farm Team Elite Women's Racing    
76 Rachel Warner (USA) FCS|Rouse p/b Mr. Restore    
77 Audrey Friedrichsen (USA) Farm Team Elite Women's Racing 0:05:12  
78 Myfanwy Galloway (Aus) Faren Honda Team    
79 Véronique Drapeau-Zgoralski (Can) Pro-Team Specialized-Mazda-SGC 0:06:32  
80 Amity Elliot (USA) Team Kenda p/b Geargrider    
81 Allison Beveridge (Can) Pro-Team Specialized-Mazda-SGC    
82 Florence Laplante-Lamarche (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery    
83 Kristine Wander (USA) Farm Team Elite Women's Racing    
84 Anne Racioppi (USA) CAWES/iFRACTAL p/b Specialized    
85 Arley Kemmerer (USA) MVP Health Care Cycling    
86 Emily Thurston (USA) Tradewinds Racing    
87 Virginie Gauthier (Can) Pro-Team Specialized-Mazda-SGC    
88 Nicole Raspa (USA) CAWES/iFRACTAL p/b Specialized    
89 Victoria Hanks (USA) Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom    
90 Heather Shearer (Can) Infinit Nutrition/Cyclepower    
91 Alizée Brien (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery    
92 Nicole Thiemann (USA) Tradewinds Racing    
93 Kristine Church (USA) Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom 0:08:11  
94 Sara Clafferty (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team    
95 Mary Costelloe (Irl) Real Deal Racing/Labicicletta