By John Wilcockson

2009 TD Bank Liberty Challenge: Columbia-Highroad’s Ina Teutenberg takes her third win.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

It all looked so easy for Team Columbia-Highroad’s Ina Teutenberg as she sped along Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway Sunday morning to win her third TD Bank Liberty Classic. At the line, the veteran German sprinter was two lengths clear of New Zealander Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco) and the top American, third-placed Shelley Olds (Proman Hit Squad), at the head of a 12-strong breakaway group.

That Teutenberg had three Columbia teammates leading the breakaway over the final 6 miles made her task easier, but she said this was the toughest of her three victories over the past five years.

“It was the hardest because the race was very, very hard today,” Teutenberg told VeloNews. “Normally, we ride hard up the climb only once or twice, but this year it was all four times.”

Up the infamous Manayunk Wall on the last of four 14.4-mile laps, Teutenberg’s teammate and former U.S. champion Mara Abbott went hard with world time trial champion Amber Neben (Team Nürnberger) and split the field.

“Our game plan was to go hard up the Wall the last time,” Abbott said. “Over the top we got the word to keep it going.”

2009 TD Bank Liberty Challenge: The women pass the men in what Teutenberg said was the toughest Liberty Challenge yet.

2009 TD Bank Liberty Challenge: The women pass the men in what Teutenberg said was the toughest Liberty Challenge yet.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Giving the instructions over the team radio was directeur sportif Petra Rossner, who won this same race seven times between 1996 and 2004. Her tactic worked because with Abbott were her powerful teammates Kim Anderson and Judith Arndt (another former world champion), along with Teutenberg.

Besides the four Columbia riders, Neben, Kiesanowski and Olds was the Australian climber Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple) — who clinched the Queen of the Mountains competition on the last lap’s climb of Lemon Hill — along with Germany’s Trixi Worrack (Nürnberger) and Kiwi Catherine Cheatley (Colavita-Sutter Home), and the Americans Alison Powers (Team Type 1) and Chrissy Ruiter (ValueAct Capital).

A group of 30 was chasing the 12 leaders, but the Columbia riders made sure they never got closer than 30 seconds. “The main thing was to keep racing hard so no one could come back to us,” Teutenberg said.

Indeed, Abbott, Anderson and Arndt did a three-woman team time trial over the final undulations of Strawberry Meadow and Lemon Hill through a sun-bedecked Fairmount Park, while Teutenberg sat comfortably near the back of the breakaway group. “Yes,” Abbott confirmed. “We pulled Ina to the line and then she did her business.”

That business began with 300 meters to go along the Parkway, where a slight breeze from the south made the sprint a fast one. “Alison Powers went for a long one because she doesn’t have the kick at the end,” said Teutenberg, who does pack a tremendous kick. “She gave me a great lead-out. It was perfect for me.”

2009 TD Bank Liberty Challenge: The women's peloton.

2009 TD Bank Liberty Challenge: The women’s peloton.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Women catch the men

The 123-strong women’s field was mostly made up of North Americans, with 22 U.S. teams facing two of the world’s top squads: Columbia-Highroad and Team Nürnberger. Those two teams kept the race together over the first three laps, and their pace was so high that they closed in on the men’s peloton within 36 miles of racing.

Many of the pro men were shocked when officials neutralized their 150-strong bunch and allowed the women to race by. “When we went past the men,” Teutenberg said, “I told them they were pussies!”

This was the first time in the 14-year history of the women’s Liberty Classic — and likely the first time in any race — that this has happened. The reason was twofold. First, the current women’s peloton is fitter and faster than ever before (they competed the race a minute better than the fastest time since the race was reduced from five to four laps seven years ago); and second, men’s pro racing can be so controlled that the sprinter-heavy teams were not bothered Sunday morning by a breakaway — Dan Holloway of the U.S. national team — adding another six minutes to an already seven-minute solo lead when the race was neutralized.

So confident of success were the three Team Columbia riders who paced the break that they all sat up when Powers led out the sprint and allowed Teutenberg to do her business.

Photo Gallery

Results

Women’s Liberty Classic results

  • 1. Ina Teutenberg (GER), Team Columbia-Highroad, 57.6mi in 2:22:33
  • 2. Joanne Kiesanowski (NZL), Team Tibco, at 0:00
  • 3. Shelley Olds (USA), Proman Hit Squad, at 0:01
  • 4. Trixi Worrack (GER), Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, at 0:01
  • 5. Catherine Cheatley (NZL), Colavita Sutter Homes p/b Cooking Light, at 0:01
  • 6. Alison Powers (USA), Team Type 1, at 0:01
  • 7. Ruth Corset (AUS), Jazz Apple Cycling Team, at 0:01
  • 8. Chrissy Ruiter (USA), Valueact Capital Cycling Team, at 0:03
  • 9. Amber Neben (USA), Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, at 0:06
  • 10. Kim Anderson (USA), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 0:16
  • 11. Mara Abbott (USA), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 0:16
  • 12. Judith Arndt (GER), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 0:16
  • 13. Brooke Miller (USA), Team Tibco, at 0:30
  • 14. Gina Grain (CAN), Webcor Builders Cycling Team, at 0:30
  • 15. Jennifer Mcrae (USA), Team Type 1, at 0:31
  • 16. Kirsty Broun (AUS), Velo Classic Tours, at 0:31
  • 17. Tina Pic (USA), Colavita Sutter Homes p/b Cooking Light, at 0:31
  • 18. Theresa Ryan (USA), Verducci/breakaway p/bDelta7sports, at 0:31
  • 19. Anne Samplonius (CAN), Team Lip Smacker, at 0:31
  • 20. Kristin Sanders (USA), Valueact Capital Cycling Team, at 0:32
  • 21. Laura Gilder (USA), Jittery Joe’s p/b Kudzu.com, at 0:32
  • 22. Kristen Lasasso (USA), Jittery Joe’s p/b Kudzu.com, at 0:32
  • 23. Rachel Neylan (AUS), Proman Hit Squad, at 0:33
  • 24. Anna Mcloon (USA), Altarum Women’s Cycling Team, at 0:33
  • 25. Rachel Lloyd (USA), Proman Hit Squad, at 0:33
  • 26. Melissa Sanborn (USA), Vanderkitten Racing, at 0:33
  • 27. Suzanne Goede (NED), Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, at 0:33
  • 28. Toni Bradshaw (NZL), Team Lip Smacker, at 0:33
  • 29. Casey Gale (USA), Altarum Women’s Cycling Team, at 0:33
  • 30. Amy Dombroski (USA), Webcor Builders Cycling Team, at 0:33
  • 31. Clara Kelly (USA), Nebc/cycle Loft/devonshire Dental, at 0:33
  • 32. Laura Bowles (USA), Vanderkitten Racing, at 0:33
  • 33. Veronica Leal (MEX), Team Type 1, at 0:33
  • 34. Kristin Mcgrath (USA), Valueact Capital Cycling Team, at 0:34
  • 35. Nicole Evans (USA), Valueact Capital Cycling Team, at 0:34
  • 36. Kori Seehafer (USA), Team Type 1, at 0:34
  • 37. Sally Annis (USA), Hub Racing, at 0:34
  • 38. Tiffany Cromwell (AUS), Colavita Sutter Homes p/b Cooking Light, at 0:35
  • 39. Alexis Rhodes (AUS), Webcor Builders Cycling Team, at 0:35
  • 40. Rebecca Much (USA), Webcor Builders Cycling Team, at 0:36
  • 41. Katheryn Mattis (USA), Webcor Builders Cycling Team, at 0:37
  • 42. Eva Lutz (GER), Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, at 0:37
  • 43. Regina Schleicher (GER), Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, at 0:37
  • 44. Lauren Tamayo (USA), Team Tibco, at 0:37
  • 45. Erinne Wilock (CAN), Webcor Builders Cycling Team, at 0:40
  • 46. Carmen Mcnellis (USA), Colavita Sutter Homes p/b Cooking Light, at 0:54
  • 47. Rachel Heal (GBR), Colavita Sutter Homes p/b Cooking Light, at 0:54
  • 48. Meredith Miller (USA), Team Tibco, at 1:06
  • 49. Malindi Maclean (NZL), Jazz Apple Cycling Team, at 2:24
  • 50. Emma Rickards (AUS), Team Tibco, at 2:24
  • 51. Liza Rachetto (USA), Velo Classic Tours, at 2:24
  • 52. Jacquelyn Crowell (USA), Team Type 1, at 2:24
  • 53. Kacey Manderfield (USA), Team Lip Smacker, at 2:25
  • 54. Rebecca Wellons (USA), Nebc/cycle Loft/devonshire Dental, at 2:25
  • 55. Kate Veronneau (USA), Altarum Women’s Cycling Team, at 2:25
  • 56. Leigh Hopkins (USA), Vanderkitten Racing, at 2:26
  • 57. Silke Wunderwald (GER), Team Kenda, at 2:26
  • 58. Elenora Vandijk (NED), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 2:26
  • 59. Rachel Warner (USA), Salamander Racing, at 2:26
  • 60. Rebecca Larson (USA), Jittery Joe’s p/b Kudzu.com, at 2:27
  • 61. Emily Zell (USA), Valueact Capital Cycling Team, at 2:28
  • 62. Melodine Metzger (USA), Vanderkitten Racing, at 2:29
  • 63. Steph Roorda (CAN), Jazz Apple Cycling Team, at 2:30
  • 64. Dotsie Bausch (USA), Jazz Apple Cycling Team, at 2:30
  • 65. Amanda Miller (USA), Team Lip Smacker, at 2:30
  • 66. Katharine Carroll (USA), Team Tibco, at 2:31
  • 67. Jessica Phillips (USA), Team Lip Smacker, at 2:31
  • 68. Erica Allar (USA), BMW-Bianchi, at 2:32
  • 69. Lauren Ellis (NZL), Jazz Apple Cycling Team, at 2:32
  • 70. Charlotte Becker (GER), Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, at 2:39
  • 71. Kelly Benjamin (USA), Colavita Sutter Homes p/b Cooking Light, at 3:31
  • 72. Amy Mcguire (USA), Hub Racing, at 5:06
  • 73. Sharon Allpress (USA), Valueact Capital Cycling Team, at 5:37
  • 74. Erica Zaveta (USA), Zaveta Cycling, at 6:24
  • 75. Nicole Brandt (USA), Proman Hit Squad, at 7:08
  • 76. Flavia Lepene (USA), BMW-Bianchi, at 8:39