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Commerce Bank Triple Crown

USA, June 3-8, 2008

Philly week welcomes strong contenders

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Bernhard Eisel won last year in the rain and is hoping to take out the overall for High Road this year
Photo ©: Jon Devich
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While the teams have been known for weeks, just which riders would be making the start for the Commerce Bank Triple Crown was still unknown – with many big name starters possible, especially from the ProTour squads. Wait no more! The preliminary rosters were announced on Thursday, headlined by triple-stage Giro winner Daniele Bennati (Liquigas), defending overall winner Bernhard Eisel (High Road) and Swedish champion Magnus Backstedt (Slipstream Chipotle - H30).

One of the surprises is not seeing CSC's speedster and 2007 Philadelphia International winner JJ Haedo on the list, with the team needing his services in Europe to cover for multiple injured riders. His speed will definitely be missed as Philadelphia can often result in a field sprint.

Another highlight on the start list is Kiwi Greg Henderson (High Road), who won two races here two years ago, helping secure his spot on a ProTour squad. Slipstream's Paris-Roubaix surprise Martijn Maaskant (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) will join a well-rounded team that also includes sprinter Tyler Farrar.

On the domestic side, Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) is having a killer first-half of the season, winning two stage races in two weeks and he achieved a lot of top five finishes, including fourth on Brasstown Bald in the Tour de Georgia. Toyota-United rolls in with a lot of fast firepower, with Ivan Dominguez, Hilton Clarke and B world champion Ivan Stevic. Former USPRO road champion Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing) has won here before and will be looking to navigate his team to a win. BMC is coming off a win at the Tour de Leelanau with Taylor Tolleson, and also brings Michael Sayers to his last Philly week after announcing Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season.

Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) counts his wins
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Bissell's Ben Jacques-Maynes has recent results pointing towards a strong Philly week, as does Colavita-Sutter Home's Lucas Sebastian Haedo. Team Type 1's former Navigators riders know this week well with Glen Chadwick always dangerous for a breakaway. The Tecos-Trek team had a successful Tour of the Gila with overall winner Gregorio Ladino back for more. The Symmetrics team has strongman Svein Tuft and sprinter Andrew Pinfold, winner of the final stage at Mt. Hood.

The women's field has a number of strong teams, including three European squads that will be a force to be reckoned with – High Road, Cervelo-Lifeforce and Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. Ina Teutenberg (High Road) comes into the race with two wins at the Tour de l'Aude. Former US road champion Kristin Armstrong leads the Cervelo-Lifeforce team while 2006 winner Regina Schleicher and Suzanne De Goede (Nürnberger) are strong threats.

Cyclingnews will have full coverage of all three men's races plus the women's Liberty Classic.