It was a mission completed for Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon), who successful defended her title at the Philadelphia Cycling Classic on Sunday in Pennsylvania. She climbed to victory atop Manayunk Wall ahead of a runner-up Lex Albrecht (Twenty16 Pro Cycling), who was quickly gaining ground but ran out of road before the finish line, and Lauren Hall (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) in third.
"My team laid it all on the line for me," Stevens said. "When I went, I knew that I had to completely empty my tank. I was not going to look back until I was over the finish line. I had an idea that I had won with 100 meters to go, but I didn't want to get cocky, so I had no victory salute because I wanted to make sure that I had it. On these kinds of courses, you can win or lose in the last 25 meters. When your team does everything for you — it's really special."
Triple national champion, Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare), reaped the rewards of being in an all-day solo breakaway and secured both the climber and sprint competitions. Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (Tibco-To The Top) earned the event's Miji Reoch Award for being the top under-23 rider.
The more the merrier on Manayunk
Some 140 cyclists from around the world lined up at the top of Manayunk Wall for the second edition, which was upgraded to UCI 1.1 status and one of two UCI events for women in the US. Fans increasingly gathered at the top of the climb with beer in-hand and ready to celebrate the annual event.
The race started with what has been typically dubbed “the fall from the wall,” a fast and technical descent to the first intermediate sprint where Niman Song (China Chongming-Giant-Champion System) took the full points. The race went over Strawberry Mansion, descended back onto Kelly Drive and over to Lemon Hill where Alena Amialiusik (Astana) picked up the first set of QOM points. She went on to climb over Manayunk and take the second set of QOM points.
The race descended Manayunk for the start of the second lap and Anna Stricker (Astana BePink) claimed the second intermediate sprint points. Powers made an impulsive attack and ended up gaining an immediate 35-second advantage, and with little effort from the main field to close it down, her lead bloomed to 1:10 minutes heading into the second climb over Manayunk.
"It was a spur-of-the-moment move,” Powers said. “We planned to have me go later in the race. There was a gap after the sprint points and then I was by myself. I was going full gas. I wanted to stay out as long as possible and allow my teammates to save their legs. It was a super bonus to get the sprint and QOM award."
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies made a concerted attempt to get one of their riders across to Powers, sending off attack after attack during the next two laps but their efforts were dampened without the support of other teams.
"You have to save a bullet for Manayunk but with Alison up to road, that was the race," Hall said. "You can't let somebody get up the road and just expect them to come back. We really raced our bikes today. We wanted to bridge across to her but everyone sat on and nobody wanted to let us go."
Powers continued to pick up the full points at the intermediate sprint and at the QOMs on top of Lemon Hill and Manayunk on each lap. Teams Astana, Specialized-lululemon and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies set a quick pace at the front of the field and reduced Powers's gap until she was back in the field before the penultimate climb over Manayunk, and the start of the last lap.
"You can't give Alison too much time but four laps on this course is hard," Stevens said. "I did think maybe she could do it because she's so good right now. It made people race. This is the kind of race where you need one big bullet. The more teams used their energy the more I could save it."
The field started the fifth and final lap intact with Astana doing the bulk of the pace-setting. UnitedHealthcare set Powers up to take the full set of QOM points on Lemon Hill and secure the category win.
Several attacks along with a seven-rider breakaway were short-lived on Kelly Drive and into main street Manayunk. Specialized-lululemon secured the first lead out train heading up the initial climb and through the technical chicane followed by Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Twenty16 Pro Cycling and UnitedHealthcare.
"The goal was for us to stay up front and my team did a great job today," Albrecht said. "We were hungry for the win today. The last climb is like a little race in itself. It was essential to be well positioned through the chicane to have a good start to the climb."
Stevens got a jump on the climb, which was packed with cheering fans, and raced her way to her second consecutive victory. Hall, who thought she had second place sewn up, was caught and passed by Albrecht near the top. "Evie got a jump on me and I kept her the same distance up and then Lex came out of nowhere and was closing the gap to Evie. I'm happy with my results and our team did an awesome job. Optum attacked their butts off today."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon||2:28:57|
|2||Lex Albrecht (CAN)||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Lauren Hall (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Alena Amialiusik (BLR) Astana BePink||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Flavia Oliveira (BRA)||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Lizzie Williams (AUS)||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Mara Abbott (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Sharon Laws (GBR) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Joanne Kiesanowski (NZL) Team TIBCO||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Mandy Heintz (USA)||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) Team TIBCO||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Janel Holcomb (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Dalia Muccioli (ITA) Astana BePink||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Jessica Cutler (USA)||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Amanda Miller (USA) Team TIBCO||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Mary Zider (USA)||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Laura Brown (CAN)||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Amy Charity (USA)||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Lauren Komanski (USA)||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Khristi Lay (CAN)||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Tina Pic (USA)||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Olivia Dillon (IRL)||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Stephanie Roorda (CAN)||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Ingrid Drexel (MEX) Forno d'Asolo-Astute||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Miranda Griffiths (AUS)||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Anna Sanders (USA)||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Hannah Barnes (GBR) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Patricia Schwager (SUI) Team TIBCO||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Leah Kirchmann (CAN) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Jasmin Glaesser (CAN) Team TIBCO||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Sara Headley (USA) Team TIBCO||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Rushlee Buchanan (NZL) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Laura Jorgensen (USA)||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Cecillia Davis-Hayes (USA)||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Niman Song (CHN)||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Daiva Tuslaite (LTU) Forno d'Asolo-Astute||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Kate Chilcott (NZL)||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Alison Tetrick (USA)||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Maura Kinsella (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Kathleen Lysakowski (USA)||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Simona Frapporti (ITA) Astana BePink||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Edita Janeliunaite (LTU) Forno d'Asolo-Astute||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon||0:01:30|
|45||Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon||0:01:52|
|46||Lauren Tamayo (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Alison Powers (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team||0:01:59|
|48||Anna Zita Maria Stricker (ITA) Astana BePink||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Annie Foreman-Mackey (CAN)||0:04:30|
|50||Jessenia Meneses (COL) Forno d'Asolo-Astute||0:03:16|
|51||Ally Stacher (USA) Specialized-lululemon||0:04:57|
|52||Stephanie Wetzel (USA)||0:03:51|
|53||Abigail Mickey (USA)||0:04:19|
|54||Lauren Dagostino (USA)||0:07:39|
|55||Ivy Audrain (USA)||0:04:30|
|56||Michelle Miller (USA)||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Jessica Chong (USA)||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Emily Spence (CAN)||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||Xi Sha Zhao (CHN)||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Alice Algisi (ITA) Astana BePink||0:04:57|
|61||Silvia Valsecchi (ITA) Astana BePink||0:08:22|
|62||Lenore Pipes (GUM)||0:05:35|
|63||Beth Ruiz (USA)||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Carrie Cartmill (CAN)||Row 63 - Cell 2|
|65||Ellen Watters (CAN)||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|66||Georgina Beech (AUS)||0:07:39|
|67||Colleen Gulick (USA)||Row 66 - Cell 2|
|68||Kerrin Strevell (USA)||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|69||Hongyu Liang (CHN)||Row 68 - Cell 2|
|70||Arley Kemmerer (USA)||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|71||Nancy Labbe-Giguere (CAN)||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|72||Kathleen Wolfkuhle (USA)||Row 71 - Cell 2|
|73||Joanie Caron (CAN)||Row 72 - Cell 2|
|74||Christina Birch (USA)||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Adrianne Provost (CAN)||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|76||Whitney Schultz (USA)||0:08:01|
|77||Lindsay Bayer (USA)||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Elizabeth Bonilla (USA)||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Amy Bradley (AUS)||Row 78 - Cell 2|
|80||Amber Gaffney (USA)||0:08:22|
|81||Gillian Carleton (CAN)||Row 80 - Cell 2|
|82||Patricia Buerkle (USA)||1 lap|
|83||Elle Anderson (USA)||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|84||Karlee Gendron (CAN)||Row 83 - Cell 2|
|85||Brittlee Bowman (USA)||Row 84 - Cell 2|
|86||Emily Underwood (USA)||Row 85 - Cell 2|
|87||Morgan Patton Brown (USA)||Row 86 - Cell 2|
|88||Brianna Walle (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||Row 87 - Cell 2|
|89||Laura Van Gilder (USA)||Row 88 - Cell 2|
|90||Leslie Lupien (USA)||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|91||Amy Cutler (USA)||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|92||Jenny Rios (MEX)||Row 91 - Cell 2|
|93||Jessica Allen (AUS)||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|94||Andrea Brennan (USA)||Row 93 - Cell 2|
|95||Vanessa Drigo (SUI)||Row 94 - Cell 2|
|96||Raquel Miller (USA)||Row 95 - Cell 2|
|97||Erica Zaveta (USA)||2 laps|
|98||Erin Silliman (USA)||Row 97 - Cell 2|
|99||Rose Long (USA)||Row 98 - Cell 2|
|100||Amy Miner (USA)||Row 99 - Cell 2|
|101||Helen Hatch (USA)||Row 100 - Cell 2|
|102||Cheryl Fuller-Muller (USA)||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|103||Madeleine Mcconnell (CAN)||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|104||Fabienne Gérard (USA)||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|105||Deborah Leedale-Brown (USA)||3 laps|
|106||Lisa Vandivort (USA)||Row 105 - Cell 2|
|107||Kristie James (USA)||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|108||Kristin Lotito (USA)||Row 107 - Cell 2|
|109||Amélie Bruneau (CAN)||Row 108 - Cell 2|
|110||Emily Flynn (CAN)||Row 109 - Cell 2|
|111||Xiu Jie Jiang (CHN)||Row 110 - Cell 2|
|112||Karol-Ann Canuel (CAN) Specialized-lululemon||4 laps|
|113||Mia Loquai (USA)||Row 112 - Cell 2|
|114||Laura Darlington (AUS)||Row 113 - Cell 2|
|115||Aimee Layton (USA)||Row 114 - Cell 2|
|116||Kaitlyn Steeves (CAN)||Row 115 - Cell 2|
|117||Frances Morrison (USA)||Row 116 - Cell 2|
|118||Allyson Gillard (CAN)||Row 117 - Cell 2|
|119||Nikki Thiemann (USA)||Row 118 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Rachel Hallum-Montes (USA)||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Tracey Cameron (CAN)||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Allie Dragoo (USA)||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Celia Riechel (USA||Row 122 - Cell 2|
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Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.
Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.
She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.