Stevens claims Philly Cycling Classic victory

Former Fleche Wallonne winner wins on Manayunk Wall finish

With a finish similar to the Mur de Huy, the inaugural Philly Cycling Classic was always going to be former Fleche Wallonne winner Evelyn Stevens' race to lose, and the Specialized-lululemon rider confirmed her form by taking the victory atop the Manayunk Wall. Stevens had to dig deep in the painful uphill finale to outkick Joelle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) for the victory, with the 25-year-old Canadian finishing second in the same time as Stevens.

Claudia Häusler (Team TIBCO), who won the Queen of the Mountains classification on the day in dominating fashion, still had enough in the tank to round out the podium in third at five seconds.

Stevens, who crashed earlier this year and spent several weeks out of competition to recover from facial injuries that included several broken teeth, credited her team for the win.

"My team was awesome, they rode it perfectly," Stevens told Cyclingnews. "I had a rough spring this year, I didn't really do well at nationals last week, but when the team says 'we believe you can win it' and they killed themselves for me, it give you confidence.

"When I was going up [the Wall] I thought about how much I sucked last weekend and how much my teammates did for me today and I thought 'I've got to deliver'. I actually didn't know I won because my eyes were closed because I was hurting so bad when I crossed the line, but it was beautiful."

The Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team chased down a dangerous move by Alison Powers (Now & Novartis for MS) who escaped on the last lap and built a half-minute lead after cresting Lemon Hill at the far end of the circuit for the final time. Powers, a time trial stalwart, was only neutralised just shy of 1km to go on Main Street in Manayunk.

"We put the whole team in front, five riders, and we didn't care what the other teams were doing," said Numainville of her team's chase of Powers. "We had a plan set up and we wanted to have it back."

Optum's pursuit played into the hands of Stevens who rolled the dice that Powers would be brought back at another team's expense. "I told Tayler [Wiles] we're gambling and not to go to the front. Alison Powers is a fantastic bike rider but you have to gamble and we stuck to our plan. We had one team strategy, we executed it perfectly and that's why we won.

"I told Tayler on the last lap that I need you to die a thousand deaths for me up that climb...and she did. It was kind of going fast, I attacked and I had one person go with me, Joelle, and I got on her wheel. Kind of over the crest [after the steepest pitch] is where I went. I had one firework to throw and I tried not to do it until that final climb - that's when I knew I had to hit it."

"I thought I had it! - but I guess I didn't have it," said Numainville of her drag race to the line against Stevens. "She passed me with a good 50 metres to go. I started a little earlier, I made a mistake in the sprint, but I'm really happy. It's Evelyn Stevens - it's a big deal."

While it's possible that Häusler may have had a bit more strength at her disposal in the finale if she hadn't contested virtually all of the 10 QOM lines, two per lap atop Lemon Hill and the finish line on the Manayunk Wall, the 27-year-old German had no regrets.

"On the final it was just full-gas up the climb and of course I want more but I'm happy with my third place, "Häusler told Cyclingnews. "I went for all the QOMs and I never had a lot of time for recovery - it was full gas all the time. Between the climbs my team was awesome, they chased down everything and they were always there. We didn't miss anything.

"I had fun racing and this QOM is something nice too and I'm happy with race."

Early morning in Manayunk

The 110-rider strong women's peloton rolled off the start line on top of the Manayunk Wall at 8:30am with a five-lap, 60 mile (96.5km) route on tap at the first Philly Cycling Classic. While a large crash on Kelly Drive disrupted the peloton on its run-in back to Manayunk on the opening lap, the stiff tempo up the first ascent of the Manayunk Wall would utterly shatter the peloton and shape the race for the rest of the event.

Häusler led Exergy TWENTY 16 teammates Mara Abbott and Andrea Dvorak over the QOM at the finish line at the head of a select group of approximately 15 riders. On the high-speed descent off the Wall the peloton was now in six groups and once the Strawberry Mansion diversion off Kelly Drive was negotiated on the second lap a 40-rider group would consolidate at the head of the race and allow no chasers to regain contact.

As the peloton negotiated Strawberry Mansion on the next lap there was a solo attack from Kathryn Donovan (NOW and Novartis for MS) and she would soon be joined by recent US pro road race silver medalist Lauren Hall (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Three more riders would soon bridge across, Häusler, Donovan's teammate Lex Albrecht and Dvorak, with Donovan taking top honours at the Lemon Hill QOM from her breakaway companions. Just prior to reaching the feed zone, however, the five-rider escape would be brought back and once more a 40-strong group rolled along at the front of the race.

While there were several more attacks over the penultimate lap, nothing threatened until the final circuit when Powers launched her solo attack prior to Lemon Hill.

"It was either win or bust," Powers told Cyclingnews. "I kept telling myself 'just go, just go' and I still had a teammate, Lex Albrecht, who was doing really well on the climb and hopefully she could finish well.

"It was hard - it was windy down on Kelly Drive and it was definitely tough by myself. I was exploding badly coming into Manayunk and was caught before the sprint line."

Powers would still find a place on the final podium, however, as she won the sprint classification after winning the first four of five sprints, located on Main Street just prior to the turn onto the Wall in Manayunk.

"It was kind of 'if you're there, go for it, but don't kill yourself'," said Powers. "The way the sprint was you had to have good position going into the Wall anyway so the first time I was there I thought 'shit, nobody's going, so I'll go!'. And then once you go once you've got to go twice and a third time...To get the jersey for our team and get on the podium is perfect."

The streak is broken

Stevens is the first American to win the Philadelphia race, with previous editions dubbed the Liberty Classic and having finished on a fast, flat run-in on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The race had nearly met its demise, but was resurrected thanks to a push from local officials and renamed the Philly Cycling Classic, and the finished moved to the top of the famed Manayunk Wall, a 500m ascent topping out at a 16% grade.

Stevens was thankful the race, the sole UCI-ranked road race in the United States for women, could take place.

"I'm so grateful for the organisers to keep the race going this year," said Stevens. "With women's racing, there's not a ton [of events] and this is one of the most special races on the calendar. And to actually have it finish up Manayunk, and have all the fans who were out at 8am and equal prize money for women...woohoo!

"I know my team, myself and all the women in the peloton were really grateful for the opportunity."

Full Results
1Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon2:33:25 
2Joelle Numainville (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
3Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO0:00:05 
4Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO0:00:07 
5Mara Abbott (USA) Exergy TWENTY16  
6Lex Albrecht (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS  
7Lauren Stephens (USA) FCS Zngine p/b Mr Restore0:00:08 
8Veronique Fortin (Can) Cycling Canada0:00:14 
9Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:00:21 
10Mary Zider (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:22 
11Karol Ann Canuel (Can) Cycling Canada0:00:25 
12Scotti Wilborne (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:00:26 
13Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Team TIBCO0:00:28 
14Sara Tussey (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji0:00:36 
15Ruth Winder (USA) Team Vanderkitten  
16Robin Farina (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS0:00:40 
17Crystal Anthony (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:00:42 
18Laura Brown (Can) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:43 
19Alizee Brien (Can) GSD Gestion-Kallisto0:00:44 
20Kate Chilcott (NZl) Team Vanderkitten0:00:48 
21Anna Sanders (USA) FCS Zngine p/b Mr Restore  
22Laura Van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:00:55 
23Sophie Williamson (NZl) Team Vanderkitten0:00:59 
24Kristin Mcgrath (USA) Exergy TWENTY160:01:03 
25Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy TWENTY160:01:06 
26Jennifer Purcell (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking  
27Kathleen Lysakowski (USA) Farm Team Elite0:01:08 
28Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:01:17 
29Denise Ramsden (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
30Veronique Labonte (Can) Cycling Canada  
31Kathryn Donovan (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS0:01:21 
32Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon0:01:22 
33Lenore Pipes (Gum) Mellow Mushroom0:01:36 
34Chantal Blaak (Ned) Team TIBCO0:01:44 
35Janel Holcomb (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:01:51 
36Lauren Tamayo (USA) Exergy Twenty160:01:55 
37Maura Kinsella (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS0:01:57 
38Leah Guloien (Can) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:01:59 
39Lauren Hall (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:11 
40Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon0:02:14 
41Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS  
42Alexis Ryan (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS0:08:57 
43Debbie Milne (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji0:09:37 
44Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Team TIBCO0:09:39 
45Stephanie Wetzel (USA) EPS CSS Riptide p/b Shebell & Shebell  
46Stephanie Roorda (Can) GSD Gestion-Kallisto0:09:41 
47Fabienne Gerard (USA) Mixed Team0:09:44 
48Jessica Chong (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:09:46 
49Amanda Watson (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing0:09:47 
50Kerrin Strevell (USA) Farm Team Elite0:09:51 
51Catherine Dessureault (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery0:09:53 
52Anne Foreman-Mackey (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery0:09:55 
53Christina Birch (USA) MVP Health Care0:09:59 
54Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) Exergy Twenty160:10:22 
55Stephanie Skoreyko (Can) Infinit Canada/Cyclepower0:10:25 
56Rhae Shaw (Can) Team Vanderkitten0:10:26 
57Amanda Miller (USA) Team TIBCO0:10:41 
58Amy Mcguire (USA) FCS Zngine p/b Mr Restore-1lap 
59Lindsay Bayer (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking  
60Kaelly Farnham (USA) FCS Zngine p/b Mr Restore  
61Patricia Buerkle (USA) Peanut Butter & Co/Human Zoom  
62Jenny Ives (USA) Farm Team Elite  
63Julia Bradley (Can) MVP Health Care  
64Stephanie Bester (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery  
65Natalie Koch (USA) MVP Health Care  
66Jennifer App (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing  
67Nicole Mitchell (Ber) Mixed Team  
68Sue Mcquiston (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing  
69Victoria Hanks (USA) Peanut Butter & Co/Human Zoom  
70Jennifer Magur (USA) Farm Team Elite  
71Jacqueline Mcclure (USA) Farm Team Elite  
72Kristine Church (USA) Peanut Butter & Co/Human Zoom  
73Cheryl Fuller-Muller (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji  
74Frances Morrison (USA) Mellow Mushroom  
75Jamie Bookwalter (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking  
76Gillian Carleton (Can) Specialized-lululemon  
77Ally Stacher (USA) Specialized-lululemon  
78Marilyn Mcdonald (Can) Mixed Team-2laps 
79Erin Silliman (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Vie 13  
80Colleen Hayduk (USA) MVP Health Care  
81Andrea Wagner (USA) Peanut Butter & Co/Human Zoom  
82Jody Frank (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Vie 13-3laps 
83Julia Lonchar (USA) Peanut Butter & Co/Human Zoom  
84Theresa Cliff-Ryan (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Vie 13  
85Beth Ruiz (USA) Farm Team Elite  
86Wendy Ulmer (USA) EPS CSS Riptide p/b Shebell & Shebell  
87Elizabeth Bonilla (USA) Peanut Butter & Co/Human Zoom  
88Marie-Soleil Blais (Can) Infinit Canada/Cyclepower  
89Veronik Bourgon (Can) Infinit Canada/Cyclepower  
90Helene Pilote Fortin (Can) Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery  
91Amy Cutler (USA) EPS CSS Riptide p/b Shebell & Shebell  
92Elizabeth Lee (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji  
93Kelly Bethoney (USA) EPS CSS Riptide p/b Shebell & Shebell  
94Roxanne Pepin (Can) GSD Gestion-Kallisto  
95Adriana Krawiec (Arg) Mixed Team  
96Deborah Leedalebrown (USA) EPS CSS Riptide p/b Shebell & Shebell  
97Julia Farell (Can) MVP Health Care  
98Nicole Raspa (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing  
99Andrea Brennan (USA) EPS CSS Riptide p/b Shebell & Shebell  
100Gabrielle Pilote Fortin (Can) Cycling Canada-4laps 
101Stephanie Swan (USA) MVP Health Care  
102Nancy Jones (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji  
DNFAinhoa Perez-Diez (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing  
DNFAlexis Zink (USA) Annapolis Bicycle Racing  
DNFKimberley Wells (Aus) Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Vie 13  
DNFKate Veronneau (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Vie 13  
DNFAnne-Marie B. Morin (Can) GSD Gestion-Kallisto  
DNFAllison Lampi (Can) Infinit Canada/Cyclepower  
DNFAmy Charity (USA) Team Vanderkitten  
DNFJessica Cutler (USA) Team Vanderkitten  
DNSMorgan Patton (USA) Mixed Team  
Sprint 1
1Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO3 
3Crystal Anthony (USA) Mellow Mushroom1 
Sprint 2
1Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon3 
3Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO1 
Sprint 3
1Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon3 
3Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon1 
Sprint 4
1Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon3 
3Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon1 
Sprint 5
1Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon5pts
2Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon3 
3Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies1 
Sprint classification
1Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS20pts
2Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon9 
3Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon5 
4Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon5 
5Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO3 
6Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO1 
7Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies1 
8Crystal Anthony (USA) Mellow Mushroom1 
Mountain 1 - Lemon Hill
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO5pts
2Lex Albrecht (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS3 
3Debbie Milne (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji1 
Mountain 2 - Manayunk Wall
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO8pts
2Mara Abbott (USA) Exergy TWENTY165 
3Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy TWENTY163 
Mountain 3 - Lemon Hill
1Lex Albrecht (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO3 
3Denise Ramsden (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies1 
Mountain 4 - Manayunk Wall
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO8pts
2Lex Albrecht (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS5 
3Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy TWENTY163 
Mountain 5 - Lemon Hill
1Kathryn Donovan (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Lauren Hall (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies3 
3Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO1 
Mountain 6 - Manayunk Wall
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO8pts
2Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon5 
3Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy TWENTY163 
Mountain 7 - Lemon Hill
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO5pts
2Janel Holcomb (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies3 
3Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon1 
Mountain 8 - Manayunk Wall
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO8pts
2Lex Albrecht (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS5 
3Veronique Fortin (Can) Cycling Canada3 
Mountain 9 - Lemon Hill
1Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5pts
2Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon3 
3Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy TWENTY161 
Mountain 10 - Manayunk Wall
1Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon8pts
2Joelle Numainville (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies5 
3Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO3 
Mountains classification
1Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team TIBCO49pts
2Lex Albrecht (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS19 
3Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon16 
4Andrea Dvorak (USA) Exergy TWENTY1610 
5Kathryn Donovan (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5 
6Alison Powers (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS5 
7Joelle Numainville (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies5 
8Mara Abbott (USA) Exergy TWENTY165 
9Veronique Fortin (Can) Cycling Canada3 
10Janel Holcomb (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies3 
11Lauren Hall (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies3 
12Denise Ramsden (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies1 
13Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon1 
14Debbie Milne (USA) Louis Garneau p/b Fuji1 

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