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Commerce Bank Triple Crown
USA, June 4-11, 2006
Race 3 - June 11: Commerce Bank Liberty Classic, 57.6 miles
Schleicher Takes Liberty, Teutenberg Takes the Crown
By Kirsten Robbins in Philadelphia
The fifty-eight mile Liberty Classic has traditionally come down to a field sprint between the top sprinters of the world. That tradition stood strong this year as Nurnbergers world champion Regina Schleicher went neck to neck with T-Mobiles Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, winning the drag race sprint to the line by a close margin.
Teutenberg initiated the sprint at approximately 350 meters to go with the rainbow jersey on her wheel. It was my teams job to bring me to the front -- to Inas wheel for the finish, said Schleicher. I knew that Ina was my biggest competition here and I also knew she would have the strongest team lead out here.
Coming off of the final climb over Lemon Hill T-Mobile began its lead out for Teutenberg. With four riders on the front, Ina was sitting comfortably out of the wind. T-Mobile's riders took their sprinter all the way through the finishing straight until the sprint began.
Once the sprint was unleashed Schleicher came around Teutenberg and the two race favourites battled side-by-side. But as the two approached the line, Schleicher put in one more gear to nip Teutenberg at the line. Colavita-Cooking Lights American speedster Tina Pic sprinted in just behind the two Germans for third place.
The Liberty Classic was very important for our team to win because we have our Fuji bike sponsor here in the USA, said Schleicher. I am also preparing for the Giro in Italy and this is a very good motivator for me.
Teutenberg, who was struck by a car yesterday while training on the circuit with her team-mates, said, I felt really bad today but I dont want to blame it on the accident yesterday -- I just didnt have good legs. I didnt make it in to the break on the third lap over the Manayunk wall and I was lucky that Tina Pic didnt either because Colavita had to chase to bring it back.
Colavita-Cooking Lights fierce sprinter Tina Pic described todays race as feeling dangerous. There were tons of crashes and I think there were forty riders lost within the first half lap. The team did a ton of work for me because I wasnt in good position until the last lap.
This race is always fun here but there always seems to be a lot of crashing, said Pic. Gina did an amazing lead out for me but we got pinched out on the little barrier on the left said. I thought if she caught have kept going we might have been able bypass them.
There were multiple attacks during the race today with the majority of riders breaking away in their pursuit for Queen of the Mountain (QOM) points during the first three laps. The most threatening break occurred on the third time up the as a break of fifteen riders escaping the field on the steep Manayunk Wall.
The break included many of the top sprinters with the exceptions of Ina Teutenberg and Tina Pic. I was a little worried on the third lap because there was a break up the road and I didnt make it, said Pic. I saw that Ina wasnt in it either so maybe we were okay. My team-mates did a great job bringing it back but, that was the most threatening break.
The QOM points were positioned at the top of Manayunk Wall and Lemon Hill. Elk Haus rider Annette Beutler won several of the climb sprints accumulating enough points to win the climbers competition. Other riders in contention for the climbers competition were Colavita-Cooking Lights Sue Palmer-Komar, TEAm Liptons Kristin Armstrong, Webcors Christine Thorburn, and New Zealander Sarah Ulmer.
Along with the top three podium and the climbers competition was the Miji Roeche under twenty-three prize. The award is named for a young national champion who was killed in a car accident. Victory Brewings talent Kim Geist, nineteen years of age, placed twelfth in the field sprint and first in the under twenty-three competition. My goal was just to finish as high-placed as I could and hope that in doing so I won the Miji Roeche award, said Geist.
Teutenbergs second place gave her the overall win of the 2006 Commerce Bank Triple Crown series, based on points accumulated in Lancaster, Reading and Philadelphia this week. Teutenberg won both the Lancaster and Reading criteriums going into todays race well ahead of her competition. Placing second in the Liberty classic today solidified her win of the Triple Crown.
How it unfolded
The women lined up in a mass start of 160 riders, but only 50 were to make it to the finish line.
From the beginning the pace was high because many riders wanted to avoid the inevitable crashes. There were two large crashes before the riders got to the base of the Manayunk Wall on the first lap. One crash created a split in the field with a third of the peloton separated behind the main field.
The Colavita-Cooking Light and Lipton teams established a presence at the front of the field before the first climb over Manayunk Wall. From the base of the climb Elk Haus climber Annette Beutler attacked and soloed over the top picking up the QOM points here and again over Lemon Hill.
A group of seven riders bridged to Beutler but the group was pulled back by together by the start of the second lap.
There were only 50 to 60 riders remaining in the field by the time they hit the second lap. Team New Zealands Sarah Ulmer made multiple attacks and was was very active throughout todays race.
The remaining field was back together at the base of Manayunk Wall. Many riders were jockeying for position before the cobblestone corners at the start of the climb.
TEAm Liptons Kristin Armstrong made a small attack at the bottom but all of the climbers in the group were right behind her. Annette Beutler picked up the QOM points again giving her a strong lead in the climbers competition.
The remainder of the second lap was full of attacks from all teams but T-Mobile was driving the field to keep the group together.
As the field came through the start finish there was a break of five riders being chased by T-Mobiles chase. Teams T-Mobile, Nurnberger, Colavita-Cooking Light, Victory Brewing, Lipton, and Premier Colorado Training all had sprinters left in the field by the start of the fourth lap.
Nurnberger wanted to have Kate Bates in the breakaway because she is our strongest rider. The other riders were to take are of things happening within the field and I was suppose to save myself for if there was a sprint, said Schleicher.
Kristin Armstrong, Annette Beutler, Sarah Ulmer, Christine Thorburn, Kim Anderson, Sue Palmer-Komar, amongst others were consistently in the breaks over the top of Manayunk Wall and Lemon Hill.
Coming through with one lap remaining there looked to be a strong possibility that the field would remain intact for the finish. This was confirmed because no attacks were launched the final time up Manayunk Wall and all teams were beginning to prepare for the finishing sprint.
There were several attacks made by Victory Brewing and Argon18 in the final leg of the race.
Ina Teutenberg attacked over Lemon Hill and was quickly followed by Sarah Ulmer.
T-Mobile gained control of the race with five kilometres to go sending its remaining three riders to lead out Teutenberg. Nurnbergers world champion Regina Schleicher made her appearance in the final five kilometres of the race on Teutenbergs wheel waiting for their showdown.
I was hiding all day from the wind and really tried to save my legs for the sprint, said Schleicher. The climb was steep but it was not too difficult for me because I have good legs right now and it was only 600 meters.
T-Mobile drove the race until seeing 350 meters to go, leading Teutenberg in for the sprint with Schleicher tight on Teutenberg s wheel. With 400 meters to go Colavita-Cooking Lights Gina Grain and Tina Pic came up on the left side of Teutenberg.
Teutenberg jumped with 350 meters to go and Schleicher pulled up beside her for the sprint to the line. Schleicher gave it one last effort and crossed the line for the win of the 2006 Liberty Classic.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Zui Hanafusa/www.miyashojicycling.org
Images by FJ Hughes/FJ Hughes
Images by Roger Miller/www.LucidMusic.com
1 Regina Schleicher (Nuernberger) 2.28.04 2 Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile) 3 Tina Pic (Colavita-Cooking Light) 4 Annette Beutler (Aaron's) 5 Rochelle Gilmore (Advil-Chapstick) 6 Shontell Gauthier (TRIA) 7 Katherine Bates (Nuernberger) 8 Anne Samplonuis (Biovail) 9 Lauren Franges (Victory Brewing) 10 Sh Hutchison-Krupat (Aaron's) 11 Katie Mactier (Argon 18-Champion System) 12 Kimberly Geist (Victory Brewing) 13 Charmain Breon (Cheerwine) 14 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci-Breakaway) 15 Rachel Heal (Victory Brewing) 16 Gina Grain (Colavita-Cooking Light) 17 Heather Labance (Advil-Chapstick) 18 Laura Van Gilder (Team Lipton) 19 Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) 20 Karen Brems (Webcor Platinum) 21 Iona Wynter-Parks (Colavita-Cooking Light) 22 Catherine Powers (Aaron's) 23 Rebecca Larson (Amoroso's) 24 Sarah Ulmer (Jazz Apple) 25 Kristen Sanders (Cheerwine) 26 Helen Kelly (Aaron's) 27 Arielle Filiberti (ADG-Joe's Bike Shop) 28 Sue Palmer-Komar (Colavita-Cooking Light) 29 Kori Seehafer (Team Lipton) 30 Betina Hold (Webcor Platinum) 31 Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) 32 Leigh Hobson (Victory Brewing) 33 Jennifer Stephenson (Biovail) 34 Michelle Hyland (Jazz Apple) 35 Brei Gudsell (Jazz Apple) 36 Carissa Wilkes (Jazz Apple) 37 Christine Thorburn (Webcor Platinum) 38 Sarah Bamberger (Cheerwine) 39 Sharon Allpress (TRIA) 40 Katherine Sherwin (Victory Brewing) 41 Andrea Dvorak (East Coast Velo) 42 Anke Wichmann (Nuernberger) 43 Margaret Shirley (Comedy Central) 44 Meredith Miller (Team Lipton) 45 Rosara Joseph (Jazz Apple) 46 Chrissy Ruiter (Victory Brewing) 47 Felicia Gomez (Webcor Platinum) 0.16 48 Mari Holden (T-Mobile) 49 Sarah Tillotson (Colavita-Cooking Light) 0.26 50 Kimberly Anderson (T-Mobile) 0.48 51 Kimberly Baldwin (T-Mobile) 52 Kele Murdin (TRIA) 1.15 53 Sabine Fischer (Nuernberger) 54 Joanne Kiesanowski (Bike NZ) 55 Liza Rachetto (Team Lipton) 56 Emma Nelson (Advil-Chapstick) 57 Amity Elliot (ADG-Joe's Bike Shop) 58 Robin Farina (East Coast Velo) 59 Stephanie Bourbeau (Biovail) 60 Grace Fleury (Team Lipton) 61 Lara Kroepsch (Team Lipton) 62 Brenda Lyons (Victory Brewing) 1.44 63 Martina Patella (Biovail) 3.01 64 Amy Mosen (Bike NZ) 65 Christina Dekraay (Fuji-Bold Brothers) 3.05 66 Amy Moore (T-Mobile) 3.57 67 Claudia Stumpf (Nuernberger) 68 Sarah Caravella (Team Lipton) 69 Jessica Phillips (Argon 18-Champion System) 70 Laura Yoisten (Victory Brewing) 71 Anna Milkowski (Advil-Chapstick) 5.48 72 Mara Miller (Advil-Chapstick) 73 Lauren Koedyk (Jazz Apple) 5.57 74 Anna Webb (Biovail) 6.43 75 Carol Hutton (Argon 18-Champion System) 6.49 76 Mackenzie Dickey (Aaron's) 77 Christina Becker (T-Mobile) 78 Dale Tye (Bike NZ) Queen of the mountains 1 Annette Beutler (Aaron's) 35 pts 2 Sarah Ulmer (Jazz Apple) 28 3 Kori Seehafer (Team Lipton) 9 4 Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) 9 5 Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) 6 6 Kimberly Anderson (T-Mobile) 5 7 Christine Thorburn (Webcor Platinum) 3 8 Laura Van Gilder (Team Lipton) 2 9 Michelle Hyland (Jazz Apple) 1 10 Sue Palmer-Komar (Colavita-Cooking Light) 1