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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Gilmore, Bronzini round out podium from bunch sprint
German champion Ina Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) wins her fifth Liberty Classic
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.
|#||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|