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Commmerce Bank Triple Crown -
USA, June 3-10, 2007
Race 4 - June 10: Liberty Classic, 56 miles
Teutenberg sprints to Triple Crown three-peat
By Laura Weislo
Ina Teutenberg made it three for three in the Triple Crown series, winning the 56-mile Liberty Classic in a bunch gallop ahead of fellow German Regina Schleicher and Team expresscopy.com's Gina Grain. Teutenberg took the hat trick in Philadelphia with another bunch sprint victory for her T-Mobile team after similar wins in Lancaster and Reading.
Coming into the final sprint, Equipe Nürnberger took control of the bunch for last year's winner Regina Schleicher, but it was Teutenberg who capitalised on the long, straight finish, coming over the line with a clear lead over last year's winner Schleicher. "My team-mate [Kate Bates] attacked with 500m to go and the other teams had to react," explained Teutenberg, "It put me in a perfect position. I was able to follow the others, got on Regina's wheel, and was able to surprise her in the sprint."
Teutenberg steps into the history books with her hat-trick in Pennsylvania, where she became the only rider ever to win all three races since Lance Armstrong's three-peat in the CoreStates Championship in 1993.
Canadian Gina Grain made it onto the podium thanks to a strong sprint finish to take third place. Grain credited her team, which was only four strong but with two riders weakened by illness. "Anne [Samplonius] and Meshy [Holt] have been sick since Montreal, but they all worked hard to get me into a good position coming into Manayunk on the final lap. We aimed for a top ten position there, but I wound up top five, and the good climb was key."
After coming over Lemon Hill with 3km to go in a solid top ten position, Grain focused on getting onto the right wheels for the inevitable sprint finish. "This final is a true sprinter's finish - with the smooth roads and the fast finish, it's not just sprinting power that matters, but savvy and aggressiveness as well."
On a day tailor-made for a bike race, with overcast skies and calm winds, the peloton, made much smaller than in recent years by a limit of six riders per team, stayed mostly together for the four lap race. TEAm Lipton's Kristin Armstrong nearly swept the mountain sprints, winning all four trips up the famed Manayunk wall, and all but one on the smaller Lemon Hill.
Armstrong used her team to perfection on each trip through the community of Manayunk, hitting the base of the climb on the front and powering all the way to the top without giving up the lead. Webcor's Mara Abbott challenged the world time trial champion on the first and third laps, while T-Mobile's Oenone Wood lucked into third place over the top on the first and final laps simply by marking the leaders to ensure the group stayed together for a bunch sprint
"There were a few world-class riders going for the mountain sprints," explained Teutenberg, "and we couldn't afford to let someone like Armstrong or Mara Abbott, who raced very well in Montreal, get off the front."
Each time Armstrong led the field to the top of Manayunk wall, she pulled away a small group that gained once up to more than ten seconds on the bunch, but the sprinters teams were interested in keeping things together. On the final lap, more than a dozen riders went clear, with three T-Mobile riders in it, but no Teutenberg.
The experienced German sprinter stayed calm, knowing that her main competition, Schleicher, was nearby. "We saw that Nurnberger was waiting for Regina, and knew it would come back together for the sprint," said Teutenberg.
Armstrong's hard work paid off with a win in the King of the Mountains competition, but her sprinter, Brenda Lyons, couldn't finish off the job with a sprint win after she and Verducci's Theresa Cliff-Ryan tangled in the final kilometre and crashed into the curb taking Colavita's Iona Wynter-Parks and Aarons' Shannon Hutchison-Krupat down with her.
"Brenda and Theresa are both really aggressive in the sprints, and they were doing a bit of bumping, and wound up taking Iona down," described Hutchison, "I fell into Iona, and went into the dirt. Fortunately we weren't hurt too badly."
Cheerwine's Laura Van Gilder was hoping to take the win today in order to sew up second place in the Triple Crown standings, but was disappointed at the outcome of the sprint. "The team rode a great race, and I was riding well today, but I'm really disappointed to not make the podium. We wanted to win today, and put in a good effort, but it just didn't work out the way we wanted."
How it unfolded
The 110-strong field set out for their four laps just behind the men's field at 9:15am into perfect weather. Cool temperatures, virtually no wind and somewhat overcast skies greeted the riders for their trip along the historic Schuylkill River. The peloton stayed compact during the first several miles, but stayed at a brisk 25mph pace until the town of Manayunk, when TEAm Lipton went to the front and upped the pace to bring their leader Kristin Armstrong to the base of Manayunk wall at the front.
Armstrong led the entire way up the hill, her red, white and blue US National Champion's jersey displaying all the primary colours when combined with the bright yellow of the TEAm Lipton kit. Armstrong took the first KOM ahead of Webcor's young talent Mara Abbott and T-Mobile's Oenone Wood.
Over the top, a group of seven including Armstrong, Abbott, Wood and members of the New Zealand National, Nürnberger, Aarons and Cheerwine teams gained nearly 15 seconds until the small Strawberry Mansions road climb that precedes Lemon Hill, where the break was brought back by the Colavita squad.
Lipton then went to the front again to set up Armstrong for the second KOM of the lap, and she did not disappoint, taking top honours ahead of Advil-Chapsticks' Heather Labance and Cheerwine's Leigh Hobson.
The trip out for the second lap was near repeat of the first, with the bunch staying largely together except for Lipton's Lauren Franges who had a puncture. The trip into Manayunk looked almost like a finishing sprint, with the Lipton, Webcor and Nürnberger teams battling for position at the front of the pack, and once again it was Armstrong who emerged first from the turn into the base of the wall, and again took the KOM ahead of Webcor's Katheryn Curi and Nürnberger's Andrea Graus.
As the peloton headed back towards Lemon Hill, two riders tangled and crashed into the curb. Advil-Chapstick's Laura Bowles went down along with Brooke Miller (TIBCO). Bowles would later rejoin only to crash again on the descent from Manayunk wall, and in further insult to injury have her leg closed in the team car door. Miller was able to rejoin the peloton. On Lemon Hill, Armstrong once again took the prime ahead of Labance and Mara Abbott.
Armstrong went on to take the third Manayunk wall ahead of Abbott and Wood, and it appeared as if each lap would be played out the same way as the previous laps until Colavita's Alison Powers attacked on the return from Manayunk. Powers was given a long leash, and gained a maximum of one minute on the poker playing peloton, allowing her to take the Lemon Hill prime and head out onto the final lap solo.
But T-Mobile, knowing that Powers is strong enough to hold the pace, came to the front on the start of the final lap and slowly reduced her gap. By the time Powers reached the fearsome wall, she held a slim 15 second advantage, a lead that was quickly swallowed up on the lower slopes as Armstrong once again came to the fore. Sprinters mixed with climbers as preparations for the finale started on the vicious 16% grade, and Nürnberger set the tempo along with Armstrong and Webcor. Armstrong took the sprint with Andrea Graus close behind and Wood at her side.
The effort at the front caused a brief split in the field, but with Teutenberg and Schleicher in the bunch, there was no momentum to keep the group going forward, and the bunch stayed all together for much of the final lap. Targetraining's Anna Milkowski tried to throw a wrench in the sprinters' plans, but only gained a few seconds before being pulled back by the Nürnberger train.
As the bunch hit Lemon Hill for the last time, the sprint disrupted the lead-out trains, with Armstrong taking the near clean sweep of the mountain points and putting in a huge effort to try and duplicate the 2003 solo win of Lyne Bessette, but the sprinters decided differently, and T-Mobile, Nürnberger and Cheerwine worked together to control the lead.
The final kilometres of flat, fast and wide open roads provided a prime opportunity for sprinters to jostle for position, and with no team taking a clear control of the bunch to string things out, the group was 10 wide coming into the last kilometre. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci) got into a shoving match with Lipton's Brenda Lyons that resulted in both riders hitting the deck, taking down Colavita's Iona Wynter-Parks and Shannon Hutchison-Krupat (Aarons) in the process.
Unaffected by the wreck, the Nürnberger train put on the gas to set up Schleicher, leading the bunch with ValueAct Capital's Australian champion Katie Mactier nested in between. As the riders hit the final 500 metre straightaway, Nürnberger's Trixi Worrack was in the lead, but was overhauled by an attack of T-Mobile's Kate Bates. This forced Schleicher to the front before the 200m to go point, allowing Teutenberg to come around the fading German and take the clear win with Gina Grain a close third.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com
Images by CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net
Images by Kurt Jambretz/www.actionimages.cc
Images by Zui Hanafusa/www.keirin.us
1 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team 2.24.38 2 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Nuernberger Versicherung 3 Gina Grain (Can) Team expresscopy.com 4 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) New Zealand National/Jazz Apple 5 Jen McRae (USA) Advil-Chapstick 6 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Cheerwine 7 Katherine Bates (Aus) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team 8 Erica Allar (USA) Juice Plus 9 Brooke Miller (USA) Team TIBCO 10 Tina Pic (USA) Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 11 Catherine Cheatley (NZl) Cheerwine 12 Oenone Wood (Aus) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team 13 Stacy Marple (USA) Team TIBCO 14 Katharine Carroll (USA) Aaron's Corporate Furnishings 15 Katie Mactier (Aus) ValueAct Capital 16 Allison Brandt (USA) Targetraining 17 Heather Labance (USA) Advil-Chapstick 18 Dotsie Bausch (USA) Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 19 Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) New Zealand National/Jazz Apple 20 Kori Seehafer (USA) TEAm Lipton 21 Kristin Armstrong (USA) TEAm Lipton 22 Katie Lambden (USA) Team TIBCO 23 Christina Dekraay (USA) Vitesse Cycling 24 Nichole Wangsgard (USA) Vitesse Cycling 25 Holli Steelman (USA) Juice Plus 26 Christine Thornburn (USA) Webcor Builders 27 Kele Murdin (USA) Team Ultralink 28 Rebecca Larson (USA) Aaron's Corporate Furnishings 29 Alex Wrubleski (Can) Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 30 Chantal Beltman (Ned) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team 31 Kimberly Anderson (USA) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team 32 Anne Samplonius (Can) Team expresscopy.com 33 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nuernberger Versicherung 34 Kathleen Billington (USA) Targetraining 35 Robin Farina (USA) Targetraining 36 Dale Tye (NZl) Hub Racing 37 Leigh Valetti (USA) Targetraining 38 Catherine Powers (USA) Aaron's Corporate Furnishings 39 Marie Lindberg (Swe) Nuernberger Versicherung 40 Jenny Trew (Can) Vitesse Cycling 41 Sarah Uhl (USA) Cheerwine 42 Rebecca Wellons (USA) BMW-Bianchi 43 Mara Abbott (USA) Webcor Builders 44 Heidi Goldberg (USA) ADG-Joe's Bike Shop 45 Shontelle Gauthier (USA) Team Ultralink 46 Marisa Asplund (USA) Team TIBCO 47 Andrea Luebbe (USA) Juice Plus 48 Hannah Banks (Aus) ValueAct Capital 49 Cora Olsen (USA) BMW-Bianchi 50 Helen Kelly (Aus) Webcor Builders 51 Ann Turner (USA) BMW-Bianchi 52 Jennifer Stephenson (Can) Team Ultralink 53 Michelle Kiesanowski (NZl) New Zealand National/Jazz Apple 54 Claudia Hausler (Ger) Nuernberger Versicherung 55 Courtenay Brown (USA) ValueAct Capital 56 Kim Sawyer (USA) BMW-Bianchi 57 Sharon Allpress (USA) ValueAct Capital 58 Mara Miller (USA) Advil-Chapstick 59 Andrea Graus (Aut) Nuernberger Versicherung 60 Erinne Willock (Can) Team expresscopy.com 61 Anna Milkowski (USA) Targetraining 0.25 62 Katheryn Curi (USA) Webcor Builders 63 Andrea Dvorak (USA) Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 64 Claudia Stumpf (Ger) Nuernberger Versicherung 65 Leigh Hobson (Can) Cheerwine 66 Kelly Benjamin (USA) Cheerwine 67 Natalie Klemko (USA) Advil-Chapstick 68 Felicia Gomez (Can) Aaron's Corporate Furnishings 1.07 69 Sarah Caravella (USA) Aaron's Corporate Furnishings 70 Jessie MacLean (Aus) Verducci Breakaway Racing 1.17 71 Shannon Hutchison-Krupat (USA) Aaron's Corporate Furnishings 1.40 72 Michelle Beltran (USA) Vitesse Cycling 73 Jenette Williams (USA) Hub Racing 1.44 74 Diane Castor (USA) ADG-Joe's Bike Shop 2.30 75 Melissa Petty (USA) BMW-Bianchi 2.49 76 Amanda Lozano (USA) Targetraining 77 Theresa Cliffryan (USA) Verducci Breakaway Racing 3.03 78 Kathryn Clark (USA) Vitesse Cycling 4.01 DNF Michele Bote (USA) Hub Racing DNF Laura Bowles (USA) Advil-Chapstick DNF Rebecca Broeder (USA) Hub Racing DNF Tricia Carnila (USA) Verducci Breakaway Racing DNF Julia Farell (Can) Team Ultralink DNF Lauren Franges (USA) TEAm Lipton DNF Genevieve Gagnon (Can) Team Ultralink DNF Rachel Heal (GBr) Webcor Builders DNF Melissa Holt (NZl) Team expresscopy.com DNF Nonnie Howard (USA) Verducci Breakaway Racing DNF Lisa Jellett (USA) Verducci Breakaway Racing DNF Reem Jishi (USA) Advil-Chapstick DNF Rebeca Jones (GBr) Hub Racing DNF Lara Kroepsch (USA) TEAm Lipton DNF Brenda Lyons (USA) TEAm Lipton DNF Malindi MacLean (NZl) New Zealand National/Jazz Apple DNF Kacey Manderfield (USA) Verducci Breakaway Racing DNF Leeanne Manderson (Aus) Hub Racing DNF Diane Miller (USA) ADG-Joe's Bike Shop DNF Meredith Miller (USA) TEAm Lipton DNF Janet Olney (USA) ADG-Joe's Bike Shop DNF Martina Patella (USA) ValueAct Capital DNF Alison Powers (USA) Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light DNF Liza Rachetto (USA) Team TIBCO DNF Elizabeth Reap (USA) Juice Plus DNF Alexis Rhodes (Aus) T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team DNF Christina Ruiter (USA) Cheerwine DNF Lisa Vible (USA) ADG-Joe's Bike Shop DNF Lauren Webb (NZl) New Zealand National/Jazz Apple DNF Iona Wynter-Parks (Jam) Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light DNF Laura Yoisten (Can) Webcor Builders Queen of the Mountain 1 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Lipton 2 Mara Abbott (USA) Webcor Triple Crown Overall (after 3 of 3 events) 1 Ina Teutenberg (Ger) T-Mobile 2 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Cheerwine 3 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (USA) Verducci Breakaway Racing Best young rider Erica Allar (USA) Juice Plus