By Dede Barry, T-Mobile CyclingTeam
I get nervous every year at the start of the Philadelphia Liberty Classic.
This race had always been one of my favorites on the U.S. racing calendar. The energy surrounding the event is motivating. I get a rush climbing the Manayunk “Wall”, as the cheering crowd erases any painful sensations that are usually associated with steep climbs.
This race gathers most of the cycling industry in the center of Philadelphia as well local and foreign bike fans. The hospitality is incredible, as tents are set up around the course stocked with food and televisions for race viewing. In nineteen years, it has never rained on race day. This year, we had a downpour the day before, with threats of flooding, but dry roads and perfect temperatures greeted us on race day.
Petra Rossner of Germany was once again on the start line and with a five year winning streak in her back pocket, she had to be the clear favorite. Petra is the quickest sprinter in the bunch; therefore, our T-Mobile team had to make sure she was not in the lead group at the finish.
Fortunately, Saturn and Rona seemed to have the same fears we did of taking Petra to the line and rode aggressively. I was especially impressed by the efforts of Manon Jutras, of Saturn, who attacked quite early and spent a whole lap off the front solo. She forced the pace in the chasing peloton. Our T-Mobile team worked hard to create a selection on Manayunk the last two laps and attacked on flats as well.
It was difficult to create the right chemistry in the breakaways, as Petra’s Nürnberger Team was covering, and sitting, on nearly every breakaway and Saturn did not seem willing to work with any of the riders on our team either. I attacked on the Wall a few times and managed to get a gap but only to turn around and have the girls that followed me shake their heads and tell me they couldn’t work.
Our aggressiveness paid off and we created a breakaway of five riders with two T-Mobiles represented, Kimberly Bruckner and Kim Anderson. They were joined by Lyne Bessette, Lynn Gaggioli and Judith Arndt. A powerful group.
Petra was left behind in the chasing group and her team was forced to work very hard to bring back the breakaway. They did not really have the strength to bring it back in the end. We were pleased with our chances in that break, but what should have been a perfect situation for our team did not really pan out at the finish though.
A few tactical mistakes resulted in disastrous consequences for our team. Lyne Bessette powered away from this group of five and won solo. Lynn Gaggioli and Judith Arndt finished second and third.
The hours after the race where a little hectic for me, as I quickly showered and met up with my mom, sister and in-laws who had come to see Michael and me race. We watched the end of the men’s race together and then Michael and I got packed up and boarded a plane to Barcelona that evening. Michael and I were exhausted from the day and slept hard on our flight.
We arrived in Barcelona, greeted by heat and sunshine and will be based here for the rest of the summer, traveling to races from our apartment in Girona.