Canyon-SRAM will field a tough-to-beat team at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic on Sunday, the ninth round of the UCI Women's World Tour. Alena Amialiusik, who placed third last year, will lead the five-rider team in Pennsylvania.
Amialiusik finished just behind winner Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and runner-up Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) on the Manayunk Wall finish line last year. Her support crew will include Alexis Ryan, Tiffany Cromwell, Hannah Barnes, Mieke Kröger and Elena Checchini.
Ryan could also find herself in the mix for the win, proving her mid-season strength with a ninth place at the US road championships in Winston-Salem last weekend.
The women will contest a 118km race, six laps of a 19.7km circuit, that includes climbs over Strawberry Mansion, Lemon Hill and flat sections along Kelly Drive. The finish climb on Manayunk Wall is 17 per cent and caters to the punchy climbers.
"The Manayunk Wall and the crowd are incredible there. I love short, steep climbs and this one is an American classic. You can't beat the crowds at this race," Ryan said.
"The lead-in to the final ascent of Manayunk is key. There is always a fight for first position coming into the bottom chicane. If you aren't near the front there, you can pretty much write off a great result. The climb is too hard and short to make up positions. Then you need to have patience and launch your final move when it's right for you."
Organisers, G4 Productions, have invited 19 teams that are mixed with international and domestic talents.
"I think it will be a harder race than it has been in the past. There has always been an international field, but the elevation to WorldTour status is encouraging more European teams to make the trip over," Ryan predicted of the race on Sunday.
"I think the lesser known teams will be aggressive from the beginning to try and make a break. Historically, the race comes back together in the remaining laps and the big teams take over coming into the final ascent of Manayunk."
On Cyclingnews, you can watch live streaming of both the men's UCI 1.1 event beginning at 8 a.m. and the Women's WorldTour event at 12:30 p.m. EST.