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Commmerce Bank Triple Crown
USA, June 3-10, 2007
Race 3 - June 10: Philadelphia International Championship, 156 miles
Haedo bides his time for win in Philly
Eisel takes third on day, first overall
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Last year in the Philadelphia Championship, Team CSC's Juan Jose Haedo, then riding for Toyota-United, sacrificed his chance to win to let fellow sprinter Ivan Dominguez have a shot. Again this year, he was thinking of working for someone else, not feeling 100 percent after a hard European season - volunteering to be the one to go in the early move. But no moves got away and Haedo found himself sitting in perfect position at the back of the T-Mobile lead-out train with teammate Matt Goss entering the final kilometre. And having last year's experience with him, Haedo knew where to jump his challengers, taking out the final race of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown ahead of teammate Matt Goss and the overall winner Bernhard Eisel (T-Mobile).
"I wasn't the guy who was supposed to stay until the end because I wasn't feeling too good," said Haedo. "I haven't had any rest since training camp in January - even a week off the bike. I am definitely feeling that. I proposed [the idea] to my teammates today that because I wasn't feeling good all week. Those other races are a good indication of how you are feeling."
So Haedo went into the race with a different plan of attack than usual - not to be saved for the sprint but to be the guy to get into the early moves. However, with fewer powerhouse teams here to chase down breaks, the peloton kept a short leash on any move.
"After five laps in the race I told the guys to save it and see what I had," said Haedo. "A few times up again I saved myself more and each time and I said to myself, 'One more time, one more time.' When I went through the ninth time, I said my race is on the next lap - if I make it I can win it. I got a good position before the last time and from there everything changed for me."
Finally, with the laps up the Manayunk wall finished, Haedo knew what was coming. "I started with less pressure because I was designated to get into the break with Goss. But in the end, the last time up the hill I thought, 'Uh oh, I think I'm in trouble now - I have to try to win!'"
"With two kilometres to go I got behind the T-Mobile guys because I thought it was a really good position. With one kilometre to go I was waiting for them to line it up. I know this sprint - you have to be patient and wait, but not too long. There were some strong guys in front of me but I knew how to pace myself in the end and made it. "
"It was absolutely hard," said overall winner Eisel who had to keep an eye on riders like Sergey Lagutin who were high in the Triple Crown competition. "I was hoping to control the race the whole day but it's hard to do that for 250km and have fresh legs in the sprint. Then I had to chase Lagutin."
Coming over Lemon Hill the last time, Eisel felt confident that the overall was locked up and decided to have a go at the sweep. "I said take it on me because I had good legs all day - but it was a bit much for me. I thought I would have better legs but the last time up Manayunk and chasing down Lagutin I lost all my power for the sprint. Navigators started to ride so I had to ride in the front, and Lagutin attacked like ten times in the last lap just to kill me, so I have to say sorry to the team. I think Cavendish probably had the better legs. He is 100 percent sprinter and I wasted a victory."
The young Cavendish and Eisel almost made it to the line, but Haedo played his tactics right and used the lead-out by Goss to launch him at the pefect time. "They lined it out from the last kilometre.," said Goss. "J.J. and I were on either side of the last [T-Mobile] guy. Then about 250 metres to go I was a couple of guys behind the T-Mobile, so I went. At 175 the first T-Mobile guy started to slow and I got around him. I didn't think I was going to get the last T-Mobile dude until the last 50 metres!"
Haedo had a little extra motivation from last year's sprint. "Last year I was designated for the sprint, but Ivan [Dominguez] said he was good, so I decided to sacrifice my opportunity. He lost my wheel and I sat up in the end. This year I set out for myself to take a little bit of revenge of how it was last year."
Beyond just one year ago, Haedo has matured as a professional at this race - living in nearby Kutztown when he raced for the Colavita-Sutter Home team. "The first time I raced here I thought I would never be able to finish this race," he said. "After only 107km I was dizzy going up the hill and had to stop. You are really disappointed, but the next day you have to get on your bike and go training, and that's what I did the next five years, getting better and better."
Now, as a ProTour rider, Haedo is competing at the highest level of the sport. This win makes it six for the year, with two in America and four in Europe. "I can't complain," he said sarcastically, regarding his experience so far in the ProTour. "I had a couple of wins in Europe and in California. This is the sixth win of the year, and being in the ProTour there are not too many guys can say that!"
While the final results might not reflect too well on the domestic teams, they were well represented in every facet of the race. Navigators Insurance was one of the most active teams on the day - with two riders solo off the front at one point, and making it into every break.
"We just wanted to be aggressive and ride the front," said Ciaran Power, who was present in the two-rider move with fellow Irishman David O'Loughlin. "I had been in the earlier move and then going with everything that got away. David was a lot stronger in the break but it was good fun!"
As well, Slipstream-Chipotle missed the main break of the day but was the driving force behind shutting it down, making the field sprint finish possible. "There at the end we missed and we had to do a little work," said team leader Danny Pate. "Otherwise that break would have been pretty good."
Also Neil Shirley (Jittery Joe's) took the King of the Mountain prize. "After the break got caught and another break didn't go it was really fast for a while," said Shirley, who had to finish the race to claim his prize. "I went for another couple of KOMs but my legs were starting to get a little toasty. I knew there was still a long way to go but within a half-an-hour I felt better again and my legs came back around. I didn't make the front group the last time up Manayunk but I was in the next group."
Bernhard Eisel was complimentary about the domestic teams as well. "After two hours and 80km I thought there would be a point where they would blow, but it never stopped. Attacking 250 kilometres to go it was pretty impressive!"
Eisel was equally uncomplimentary about the only American ProTour team and the fact that they were a no-show this year. In a rare move, Eisel fired back a question at a reporter who was wearing a Discovery Channel team hat. "The question should be, where is the American ProTour team?"
But many of the first-time racers were most complimentary about the enthusiastic crowds who come out to support the race every year. "It's like the World's!" said first-timer Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis). "The amount of drunk people on the climb was awesome! You can't really concentrate going up the hill because there are so many girls hanging over the barriers drunk! Every lap getting bigger and bigger!"
How it unfolded
Unlike most years, the weather in Philadelphia was quite nice - overcast and cool, barely reaching into the 80s all day, as opposed to the often sweltering temperatures and even more miserable humidity. The opening parade laps were an indication of the menu for the day - fast and faster. Within the first large lap the average speed was well over 27mph with no signs of slowing.
The high speeds made it difficult for any serious breaks to form. Going into Manayunk the first time, the all-important race to the first corner was on, with Slipstream-Chipotle lining it up well. Over the top two Slipstream riders were able to keep their advantage and rolled it down the 'fall off the wall,' but soon after, the high-speeds brought it all back together.
On the second lap a breakaway looked to be forming, as it usually does at this point in the race. The Wall helped increase the gap and a large group was on the way, containing: Ciaran Power (Navigators), Scott Nydam (BMC), Graham Howard (Priority Health), Alessandro Bazzana (Successful Living), Keith Norris (AEG - Toshiba), Mariano Frederick (Rock Racing), Chris Wherry (Toyota United), Martin Pederson (CSC), Ian MacGregor and Francois Parisien (Slipstream-Chipotle), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joes), Roger Hammond (T-Mobile), Tim Johnson (Health Net-Maxxis) and Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery).
Over the next lap the gap increased to over a minute, but the snap in the legs just was not there. In previous years this gap would have been more than a few minutes by this point, with little end in sight. With this in mind, the organisation faltered and Navigators moved the front, bringing the gap further down.
The fourth time up the wall the break was finally reeled in. Though counter-attacks tried to materialise the bunch was not having it. Scott Nydam (BMC), who was very active all day in the breaks, even tried a solo attempt - but to no avail.
Later on in the racing, possibly sensing some frustration at the lack of breakaway cooperation, two Navigators Insurance riders found themselves with a gap - and decided to go with it. Ciaran Power and David O'Loughlin, both native Irishmen, rolled their advantage all the way through the start-finish and to the Manayunk Wall. But there, the earlier break efforts and peloton-driving by Power came back to bite him, and O'Loughlin had to go it alone.
Behind, numerous unorganised chases formed, consisting of one or two riders at a time. Eventually these chases coalesced into one group of six: Jake Rytlewski (Rite Aide), Hector Hugo Rangel (Tecos de la Unversidad), Alexander Gonzalez (Caico), Jonathan Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast), Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net-Maxxis) and Martin Pederson (CSC). But by the time this happened, the field was bearing down. A little later, O'Loughlin was snatched up as well.
More laps came and went; more breaks came and went. The final fall off the wall saw a last-ditch solo effort by the former mountain biker Ryder Hesjedal (Health Net-Maxxis), but the sprinters who were left in the field began salivating at the chance for a field sprint. "It's one of those days," said Health Net teammate Rory Sutherland. "Everyone is motivated and scared of the hill as well. Ryder and I lit it up the last time up the hill but unfortunately it didn't bust up behind us."
The shorter finishing laps, which only included Lemon Hill, were even faster, with the CSC team covering a lot of the solo moves and Navigators Insurance trying to put the screws to Eisel. "We had nearly all our guys there into the finish [laps] and always had a guy on those wheels," said Matt Goss. "That took the pressure off of us and made our job look easier!"
"A couple of years ago we had a good break and last year things didn't go our way, having to do too much work," said CSC director Scott Sunderland. "I told the guys as soon as there are more than five guys, we need one there. Martin Pederson and Allen Johansen did a fantastic job for us today. When it came on the small laps it was all for Gossey and J.J. I knew that T-Mobile would do the last kilometres so we didn't need to do that work."
Coming off the hill for the final time, with 3km to go, T-Mobile moved to the front to begin the lead-out. By the time the now 50 rider first group entered the Ben Franklin Parkway, there were four magenta-clad riders on the front, with CSC looming close behind. Around the right-hand curve of the Logan Square circle the speed forced a single line, but swinging back to the left coming out a crash took down half the field.
"Roger Hammond was pulling in the front and he went back and some idiot ran into him," said Eisel. "For us it was no problem because we were too far up in front." The surviving few riders, about 15 in total, continued the long drag-race for the line. At first it looked like T-Mobile would have enough to take it, but with 50 metres to go, the two CSC riders jumped the last T-Mobile rider for the win.
"You always have to think you can win, that you can make it," said Haedo. "I knew it was fast and that nobody was going to come from behind - and I only had three guys in front of me."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com
Images by Dennis Smith/dennisbike.com
Images by Kurt Jambretz/www.actionimages.cc
Images by Zui Hanafusa/www.keirin.us
Images by Michael Kirk/www.MLKimages.com
1 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 5.45.51 2 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team CSC 3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) T-Mobile 4 Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (Arg) Rite Aid 5 Dominique Rollin (Can) Kodak Gallery p/b Sierra Nevada 6 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile 7 Charles Dionne (Can) Colavita-Sutter Home 8 Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Successfulliving.com 9 Alex Candelario (USA) Jelly Belly 10 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 11 Emile Abraham (Tri) Priority Health p/b Bissel 12 Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Rock Racing 13 Henk Vogels (Aus) Toyota-United 14 Greg Henderson (NZl) T-Mobile 15 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Navigators Insurance 16 Svein Tuft (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 17 Jacob Erker (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 18 Benjamin Brooks (USA) Navigators Insurance 19 Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance 20 John-Freddy Parra (Col) Tecos De La Universidad 21 Alejandro-Ivan Cortes (Col) Caico 22 Andrew Randell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 23 Andrew Bajadali (USA) Jelly Belly 24 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net - Maxxis 25 David Vitoria (Swi) BMC Racing Team 26 Ben Day (Aus) Navigators Insurance 27 Christopher Jones (USA) Nerac 28 Trent Wilson (Aus) Jittery Joe's 29 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Priority Health p/b Bissel 30 Jorge Martinez (Col) Caico 31 Chris Wherry (USA) Toyota-United 32 Juan-Pablo Magallanes (Mex) Tecos De La Universidad 33 Christian Meier (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 34 Sean Sullivan (Aus) Toyota-United 35 Christian Valenzuela (Mex) Successfulliving.com 36 Oleg Grishkin (Rus) Navigators Insurance 37 Ivan Stevic (SCG) Toyota-United 38 Cameron Evans (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 39 Davide Frattini (Ita) Colavita-Sutter Home 40 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Health Net - Maxxis 41 Daniel Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit/Medifast 42 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team CSC 43 Cesar-Augusto Grajales (Col) Jittery Joe's 44 Dominique Perras (Can) Kelly Benefit/Medifast 45 Eric Keim (USA) Aeg-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 46 Allan Johansen (Den) Team CSC 47 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 48 Gregorio Ladino (Col) Tecos De La Universidad 49 Marco Pinotti (Ita) T-Mobile 0.22 50 Richard England (Aus) Priority Health p/b Bissel 0.26 51 Martin Pedersen (Den) Team CSC 52 Caleb Manion (USA) Toyota-United 0.29 53 Jesse Anthony (USA) Kodak Gallery p/b Sierra Nevada 0.36 54 Kirk O'bee (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 0.43 55 Javier-De-Jesus Zapata (Col) Caico 0.46 56 Shawn Milne (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 0.55 57 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Successfulliving.com 0.59 58 Yosvani Falcon (Cub) Aeg-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 1.01 59 Michael Grabinger (USA) Successfulliving.com 60 Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream p/b Chipotle 1.22 61 Roger Hammond (GBr) T-Mobile 1.45 62 Mike Sayers (USA) BMC Racing Team 1.54 63 Mark Walters (Can) Kodak Gallery p/b Sierra Nevada 2.03 64 Eric Baumann (Ger) T-Mobile 2.50 65 Erik Lyman (Can) Calyon - Litespeed 66 Adam Myerson (USA) Nerac 67 Christopher Frederick (USA) Aeg-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 68 Daniel Holt (USA) Nerac 69 Adam Bergman (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home 70 Todd Yezefski (USA) Nerac 71 Zachary Bell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 72 Jake Rytlewski (USA) Rite Aid 73 Martin Gilbert (Can) Kelly Benefit/Medifast 74 Ben Raby (USA) Kodak Gallery p/b Sierra Nevada 75 Wendy Cruz (Dom) Caico 76 Nick Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly 77 Rudolph Napolitano (USA) Rock Racing 78 Patrick Walsh (USA) Nerac 79 Kasper Klostergaard-Larsen (Den) Team CSC 80 Fausto-Marcelino Esparza (Mex) Tecos De La Universidad 81 Alex Hagman (USA) Aeg-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 82 Michael Dietrich (USA) Kodak Gallery p/b Sierra Nevada 83 Hector-Hugo Rangel (Mex) Tecos De La Universidad 84 Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home 85 Stephen Kincaid (USA) Rite Aid 86 Herberth Gutierrez (Col) Tecos De La Universidad 87 David Mccann (Irl) Colavita-Sutter Home 88 Michael Friedman (USA) Slipstream p/b Chipotle 89 Gustavo Artacho (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home 90 James Meadley (Aus) Jelly Belly 91 Eric Wohlberg (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 92 Scott Moninger (USA) BMC Racing Team 93 Matthew Guse (Can) Calyon - Litespeed 94 Scott Nydam (USA) BMC Racing Team 95 Austin King (USA) Jittery Joe's 96 Garrett Peltonen (USA) Priority Health p/b Bissel 97 Edward King (USA) Priority Health p/b Bissel 98 Geoff Kabush (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 99 Neil Shirley (USA) Jittery Joe's 100 Scott Zwizanski (USA) Priority Health p/b Bissel 101 Frank Travieso (Cub) Aeg-Toshiba-Jetnetwork 102 Matt Shriver (USA) Jittery Joe's 103 Ryan Roth (Can) Kelly Benefit/Medifast 104 Nicholas Waite (USA) Kelly Benefit/Medifast 105 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance 106 Cody Stevenson (Aus) Jittery Joe's 107 Aaron Olson (USA) T-Mobile 108 Jacob Rosenbarger (USA) BMC Racing Team 109 Taylor Tolleson (USA) Slipstream p/b Chipotle 5.10 110 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Toyota-United 111 Luis-Fernando Macias-Hernandez (Mex) Tecos De La Universidad 112 John Murphy (USA) Health Net - Maxxis 113 Ken Hanson (USA) BMC Racing Team 114 Evan Elken (USA) Jittery Joe's 115 Nikola Smutny (Cze) Nerac 116 Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Jittery Joe's 117 Chuck Coyle (USA) Successfulliving.com 118 William Frischkorn (USA) Slipstream p/b Chipotle 119 Charles-Bradley Huff (USA) Slipstream p/b Chipotle 120 Chad Hartley (USA) BMC Racing Team 121 Francois Parisien (Can) Slipstream p/b Chipotle 122 Karl Menzies (Aus) Health Net - Maxxis 123 Michael Creed (USA) Slipstream p/b Chipotle