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Rasmussen comes good in Philadelphia

Alex Rasmussen secured the hat-trick for HTC-Highroad at the TD Bank International Championship, delivering the ProTeam's third consecutive victory on the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rasmussen repeated the performance of André Greipel in 2009 and Matt Goss in 2010 as the 26-year-old Dane prevailed on Sunday in a spirited field sprint finale for his first victory of the season and the biggest road win of his career.

For the second straight year Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) finished as runner-up, while UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling's German fast man Robert Förster rounded out the podium in third place.

HTC-Highroad only started five riders, with 20-year-old Australian Leigh Howard as the designated sprinter, but things went off script just prior to the final ascent of Lemon Hill with three kilometres remaining as the day's final three escapees, Francisco Mancebo Perez ( Cycling Team), Andrès Miguel Diaz Corrales (Team Exergy) and Bruno Langlois (Team Spidertech Powered By C10) were swept up.

"We were supposed to do the lead-out for [Leigh] Howard but there was a big mess in the end. He almost crashed before the last climb with 3km to go and he was off my wheel," said Rasmussen.

Inside of the final kilometre, the hopes of Canadian Pro Continental squad Team Spidertech powered by C10 were dashed as Kevin Lacombe, Martin Gilbert and Pat McCarty all went down rounding Logan Circle, adding to the chaos in the finale.

"There was a big fight for position before the roundabout, then the crash happened and luckily I was on the inside in front of it so there were maybe 20 guys left for the sprint," continued Rasmussen. "I went back to fifteenth position and went early, using the draft of the other guys to get to the front - it was a long sprint.

"It was not exactly what we planned, but in the end it turned out good."

"It's pretty monumental," added HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Allan Peiper. "We came here with five riders because after the crash in the Giro where we lost [Marco] Pinotti and [Craig] Lewis to broken bones we had a re-shuffle to the selection and came here with a bare-bones team, but five good riders who were motivated."

Rasmussen, a four-time world champion and an Olympic silver medalist on the track in the scratch, Madison and team pursuit disciplines, drew from his experience on the boards to deliver the win.

"The track experience was useful in the end. There was a big fight and I used my seated track sprint because I had so much acid in my legs. I had to sit down a couple of times in the sprint."

Unlike the previous year where Peter Sagan returned to Europe after his impressive Amgen Tour of California debut only to fly back to the United States a handful of days before the TD Bank International Championship, this time around he remained in California to train and arrived with plenty of time to spare on Wednesday. Everything was going to plan for the 21-year-old Slovakian until the final pass of Logan Circle.

"I was very far behind, maybe in 15th position after the turn," said Sagan, who finished fast yet again, but just shy of Rasmussen.

Förster enjoyed the full-support of his eight UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling teammates throughout the 250km parcours which he parlayed into a podium appearance in the US's most prestigious one-day race.

"I thought today I had the legs to win this race and the boys worked for me and gave me the perfect lead-out," said Förster. "After 250km it's a different sprint. We started a little bit too early in the headwind and if I waited 10 metres more maybe I would have got it. They caught me five metres before the line."

In it for the long haul

As the 154-rider field toed the line for the 27th edition of the TD Bank International Championship, conditions were perfect, cool and overcast, for a run at the fastest-ever edition of the race when Argentine sprinter Juan Jose Haedo stopped the clock in 5:45:51.

At the end of the opening 23.2km circuit to Manayunk and back, New Zealand's Glen Chadwick (Pure Black Racing), no stranger to breakaways in Philadelphia, initiated the main escape of the day with a solo attack. As the peloton rolled along Kelly Drive for its second of 10 trips along the Schuylkill River four riders jumped from the field and bridged to Chadwick: Bruno Langlois (Team Spidertech Powered By C10), Alex Hagman (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), Roman Kilun (Kenda/5-hour Energy Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinder) and Quinn Keogh (Team Exergy).

The peloton was content with the composition of the break and the quintet's lead ballooned to six minutes on their third trip to Manayunk and its infamous Wall, the steeply-pitched 800-metre ascent which is the signature feature of the event.

The break enjoyed a maximum advantage of nearly 10 minutes on the fourth trip to Manayunk before the teams of the sprinters began to chip into the lead. Meanwhile, competition for the King of the Mountains classification, where the first three over the Manayunk Wall and Lemon Hill each lap scored points, grew fierce in the break. The escape splintered on the first few ascents of the Manayunk Wall as riders vied for maximum points, but once the KOM became a two-man contest between Hagman and Keogh cohesion prevailed with thoughts of keeping the escape alive as long as possible.

The quintet's advantage dropped precipitously near the race's midpoint and their advantage stood at just 3:20 by the seventh ascent of the Wall. Jesse Anthony and Andrew Bajadali of Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth set a fierce tempo on the Wall in the peloton and drew out Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad), Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Kevin Lacombe and Pat McCarty (Team Spidertech Powered By C10), Rubens Bertogliati and Javier Megias Leal (Team Type 1-Sanofi Aventis), Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) and Andrès Miguel Diaz Corrales (Team Exergy).

This dangerous chase group was neutralised as they rounded Logan Circle at the finish of the lap and the peloton set out on their eight trip to Manayunk only 2:10 behind Chadwick, Hagman, Kilun, Langlois and Keogh.

Shuffling of the deck

Francisco Mancebo ( rocketed out of the peloton on the Manayunk Wall and was soon joined by Frank Pipp (Bissell Cycling) and Andrès Miguel Diaz Corrales (Team Exergy). By the end of the eighth large circuit the trio had joined the leading five but fireworks were underway behind as a 14-chase group trailed by only 27 seconds with the peloton only an additional 13 seconds in arrears at the start of the penultimate large lap.

Again, the dangerous chase group which contained Timothy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Rafael Valls Ferri (Geox-TMC), Pat McCarty (Team Spidertech Powered By C10), Alessandro Bazzana and Daniele Callegarin (Team Type 1-Sanofi Aventis), Serhy Hrechyn (Amore & Vita), Andrew Dahlheim and Kyle Wamsley (Bissell Cycling), Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), Reid Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies - OptumHealth), Jacob Rytlewski (Kenda/5-hour Energy Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinder), Daniel Barry (Pureblack Racing), Michael Freiberg (V Australia) and Matt Cooke (Team Exergy) was neutralised, while up the road the eight-man break shattered, leaving only Mancebo, Pipp, Diaz and the resilient Langlois in the lead.

Hagman's effort did not go un-rewarded, however, as the Jelly Belly rider claimed the KOM prize by one point over Keogh.

On the final ascent of the Manayunk Wall Pipp cracked while Mancebo, Diaz and an inspired Langlois crested the summit 1:05 up on the peloton.

Three chasers, Scott Lyttle (Pureblack Racing), Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) and Alex Howes (Chipotle Development Team), set out in pursuit of the lead trio on the return trip along Kelly Drive and closed to within 36 seconds of Mancebo, Diaz and Langlois with only the three five-kilometre finishing circuits remaining, encompassing Lemon Hill and Logan Circle.

Lyttle, Anthony and Howes were caught, however, by a charging peloton exactly as they saw the lap card tick down to two to go. The tandem of Mancebo and Diaz, with Langlois in tow, still refused to relent as they held on to a 38-second lead.

But with powerhouse lead-out trains being set up by HTC-Highroad, Liquigas-Cannondale and UnitedHealthcare the catch was inevitable. The trio's margin shrunk to a scant 11 seconds when the bell rung for the final mini-circuit and with only three kilometres remaining it was gruppo compatto, leaving the day's spoils to the sprinters for the sixth straight year.



Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad5:59:04
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
4Ken Hanson (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
5Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis
6James Williamson (NZl) Pureblack Racing
7Matthias Friedemann (Ger) Champion System
8Yosvany Falcon (Cub) Cycling Team
9Aaron Kemps (Aus) V Australia Pro Cycling Team
10Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) Team Exergy
11Shawn Milne (USA) Kenda presented by Gear Grinder
12Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy0:00:03
13Hilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
14Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (Arg) Jamis - Sutter Home
15Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slo) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis0:00:05
16Serhy Hrechyn (Ukr) Amore & Vita
17Thomas Scully (NZl) Chipotle Development Team
18Alexander Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health
19Frank Travieso (USA) Cycling Team
20Danny Summerhill (USA) Chipotle Development Team
21Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis0:00:08
22Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
23Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) V Australia Pro Cycling Team
24Daniele Callegarin (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis0:00:10
25Daniele Ratto (Ita) Geox-TMC
26Scott Lyttle (NZl) Pureblack Racing0:00:12
27Joshua Berry (USA) Cycling Team0:00:15
28Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
29Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis
30Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Bissell Pro Cycling
31Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) V Australia Pro Cycling Team
32Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis
33Luca Damiani (Ita) Kenda presented by Gear Grinder
34Eric Young (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:00:20
35Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Cycling Team
36Andrei Krasilnikau (Blr) Chipotle Development Team
37Mical Smit Larsen (Den) Danish National Team
38Robbie Squire (USA) Chipotle Development Team
39Michael Chauner (USA) Team CykelCity
40Jacob Rytlewski (USA) Kenda presented by Gear Grinder
41Joris Boillat (Swi) Champion System
42Robert Sweeting (USA) Kenda presented by Gear Grinder
43Wu Kin San (HKg) Champion System
44Sergio Hernandez (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
45Benjamin Chaddock (Can) Team Exergy
46Roman Van Uden (NZl) Pureblack Racing
47Andrew Bajadali (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health
48Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
49Karl Menzies (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:00:29
50Juraj Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:33
51Hayden Brooks (Aus) V Australia0:00:35
52Zachary Bell (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C100:00:37
53Andrew Pinfold (Can) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:00:40
54Jimmy Ronn (Swe) Team Cykelcity
55Andrea Grendene (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis0:00:43
56Emerson Oronte (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda0:00:46
57Menso De Jong (USA) Wonderful Pistachios Cycling
58Alex Howes (USA) Chipotle Development Team
59Andrew Randell (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10
60Jason Donald (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health
61Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMC
62Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Mex) Amore e Vita
63Vladislav Borisov (Rus) Amore e Vita
64Tom Zirbel (USA) Jamis - Sutter Home
65David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMC
66Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale
67Caleb Fairly (USA) HTC-Highroad
68Matthew Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad
69Holger Burkhardt (Ger) Champion System
70Boy Van Poppel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
71Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health
72Michael Creed (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health
73Marko Kump (Slo) Geox-TMC0:00:52
74Shem Rodger (NZl) Pureblack Racing
75Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis0:01:56
76Sean Mazich (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
77Reid Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health
78Patrik Moren (Swe) Amore & Vita0:01:58
79Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Team Cykelcity
80Kyle Wamsley (USA) Bissell Cycling0:02:03
81Quinn Keogh (USA) Team Exergy0:02:17
82Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:02:41
83Michael Freiberg (Aus) V Australia
84Leigh Howard (Aus) HTC-Highroad0:03:09
85Francois Parisien (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C100:03:31
86Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Pureblack Racing0:03:38
87Daniel Barry (NZl) Pureblack Racing
88Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Cycling Team0:03:40
89Andrès Miguel Diaz Corrales (Col) Team Exergy
90Jesse Anthony (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health0:03:45
91Ryan Anderson (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C100:03:53
92Jake Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
93Taylor Sheldon (USA) V Australia0:04:11
94Sean Sullivan (Aus) V Australia
95Andy Guptill (USA) Jamis - Sutter Home0:04:35
96Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
97James Driscoll (USA) Jamis - Sutter Home
98Ian Burnett (USA) Cycling Team
99Bruno Langlois (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C100:05:15
100John Kronborg Ebsen (Den) Danish National Team0:06:06
101Alex Hagman (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
102Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Geox-TMC
103Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Cycling0:06:45
104William Dickeson (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
105Michael James Northey (NZl) Pureblack Racing1:00:57
106Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10
107Eric Schildge (USA) Jamis - Sutter Home1:10:57
108Iggy Silva (USA) Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling
109Marsh Cooper (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health

King of the Mountain
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alex Hagman (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda45pts
2Quinn Keogh (USA) Team Exergy44
3Andrès Miguel Diaz Corrales (Col) Team Exergy34
4Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Cycling Team30
5Scott Lyttle (NZl) Pureblack Racing10
6Bruno Langlois (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C1010
7Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis5
8Alex Howes (USA) Chipotle Development Team5
9Francois Parisien (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C103
10Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Cycling2
11Robbie Squire (USA) Chipotle Development Team1


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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.

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