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Columbia-Highroad goes 1-2 in Philly

There’s no stopping Team Columbia-Highroad’s blond German sprinter André Greipel. He has won race after race since he returned from the injured list a month ago. After a stage win at the Four Days of Dunkirk on May 10, three stages of the Tour of Bavaria in late May, and Germany’s Neuseen Classic last week, he made it six wins in four weeks on Sunday afternoon by taking the 25th anniversary edition of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship.

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By John Wilcockson

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: Columbia-Highroad's Andre Greipel takes the win.

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: Columbia-Highroad’s Andre Greipel takes the win.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

There’s no stopping Team Columbia-Highroad’s blond German sprinter André Greipel. He has won race after race since he returned from the injured list a month ago. After a stage win at the Four Days of Dunkirk on May 10, three stages of the Tour of Bavaria in late May, and Germany’s Neuseen Classic last week, he made it six wins in four weeks on Sunday afternoon by taking the 25th anniversary edition of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship.

America’s biggest single-day bike race, which was first won by U.S. Olympic speed-skating hero Eric Heiden in 1985, was in danger of extinction a month ago. But a last-minute injection of cash from the Sugar House and Foxwoods casino operations along with title sponsor TD Bank helped Dave Chauner’s Pro Tour Cycling company save the event. And Sunday’s spectacular finish at the end of a day of unpredictable, exciting racing gives encouragement for the future.

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: Columbia's Greipel and Greg Henderson.

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: Columbia’s Greipel and Greg Henderson.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

The day belonged to America’s and the world’s No. 1 team, Columbia-Highroad, which won both of Sunday’s races. Ina Teutenberg took the women’s Liberty Classic in the morning, and Greipel headed a one-two finish with Kiwi teammate Greg Henderson in the afternoon.

“I guess you could say I have got some good form,” said an under-stated Greipel, who was out of the sport for 12 weeks after dislocating his shoulder in a spectacular crash into a police motorcycle at January’s Tour Down Under.

“The team was pretty good all day,” Greipel told VeloNews, “and I think we showed that we were the strongest in the end when we had [Eddy] Boasson Hagen and Greg Henderson as lead-out men. Boasson Hagen went with 400 meters to go and then Henderson took over.”

“Yes,” Henderson added, “I took it from super-early because a Bissell guy, Kirk O’Bee, went on the left-hand side. It was so early … and I had to chase to get across to his wheel. I went straight past him and I thought, ‘I’ve gotta keep going because no one’s come round me yet.’ And I was so full of lactate…. Finally, one rider came around, and it was André. There was no one else in sight.”

Greipel detached himself so fast from a lead pack of 40 riders that Henderson hung on for second place, with O’Bee taking third. So, for the second year running, O’Bee, who was second to Matti Breschel in 2008, repeated as the top American.

“Columbia was on the front with a kilometer to go and every team was fighting when there was a big crash before the last roundabout,” O’Bee said. “But I had two of my teammates in front of me that really kept me out of the mess. It was a bit of a swarm … and to get myself out of it I jumped and went early. I knew it was really early when I saw 300 to go. I died in the last 100 meters, and I was glad to hang on for third. It’s a good result two years in a row. It’s not easy to get on the podium here.”

It was remarkable that Henderson — who won this race three years ago for the Health Net-Maxxis team — even finished this year’s 156-mile race. “I had a miserable day,” said the New Zealand sprinter. “I ate something (bad) last night and four times I had to stop at the side of the road with really bad diarrhea. André said, ‘Just pull out, it’s not worth it.’ But I said, ‘I’ll just keep going as long as I can.’

“Finally after about 100 kilometers I finally stopped shitting. I started feeling better and better and better, and then I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll make the finish now.’ Thank God I kept fighting, eh?”

Holloway’s three hours of glory

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: Daniel Holloway of the U.S. National Team got the ball rolling.

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: Daniel Holloway of the U.S. National Team got the ball rolling.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

The organizers’ cost-cutting measures that finally made the race possible included the replacement of grandstands along the finish straightaway with VIP hospitality tents, but that didn’t discourage the crowds. Thousands were out on the Ben Franklin Parkway to watch the 159 starters set out on their six-and-a-half-hour race, and almost immediately all their eyes were on one man, 22-year-old Dan Holloway of the U.S. national team, who detached himself from the peloton in the opening half-mile.

After the preliminary loops around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, he was already 1:42 clear of the pack. His lead climbed to 7:01 after the first main lap of 14.4 miles, and he continued to push his advantage as he was pursued for lap after lap by Californian Andrew Talanski of the Amore & Vita team.

The peloton was so disinterested in chasing Holloway and Talanski that they were caught by the women’s field, which started almost six minutes behind them. Before the third climb of the Manayunk Wall, the race officials neutralized the men’s peloton to allow the faster-moving women’s pack to go by.

“I had teammates on the men’s side,” said Columbia’s Kim Anderson, “so I called out to them as we went past. That was pretty cool.”

By the end of that partly neutralized third lap, Holloway pushed his lead to two minutes over Talanski and more than 13 minutes over the field. Only then did the race come to life, with the pack putting in a 32-minute lap after crawling through the opening four loops in 39:57, 36:30, 43:10 and 35:48.

Three men burst out of the pack near the end of lap five and soon overtook the struggling Holloway, whose three-and-a-quarter hours of glory came to an end when he fell behind the pack and dropped out.

New breakaways

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia Cycling Championship: Tom Zirbel (Bissell), Daniel Oss (Liquigas) and Valery Kobzarenko (Team Type 1).

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia Cycling Championship: Tom Zirbel (Bissell), Daniel Oss (Liquigas) and Valery Kobzarenko (Team Type 1).

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

The three riders who took command by putting in the day’s fastest lap of 31:10 to take a 7:26 lead by the end of lap seven were ace time trialist Tom Zirbel of Bissell, Italian neo-pro Daniel Oss of Liquigas and Ukrainian Valeriy Kobzarenko of Team Type 1. Kobzarenko would go on to take the King of the Mountains award after a close-fought battle with Zirbel on each climb of the Manayunk Wall.

Fans along Manayunk’s Levering Street were bringing in kegs of beer on Saturday night in preparation for the daylong street party, cheering on the racers up the Wall’s 17-percent grades. They certainly got their money’s worth when the race seemed to be taking a definitive turn on lap eight.

An acceleration by 20 riders, headed by a Columbia quartet of Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Marco Pinotti and Vicente Reynès, clipped the lead trio’s advantage by two minutes. Also in the move were Fuji-Servetto’s Ricardo Serrano and Davide Vigano, Bissell’s Ben Jacques-Mayne, Colavita-Sutter Home’s Alejandro Borrajo, Fly V Australia’s Allesandro Bazzanna, the U.S. national team’s Caleb Fairly and Kelly Benefit’s Scott Zwizanski, a Philadelphian.

But even though another local hero, Floyd Landis, was also in this counterattack, his OUCH-Maxxis teammates didn’t fancy the Pennsylvania native’s chances and took up the chase with the Fly V Australia squad.

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: OUCH-Maxxis on the front.

2009 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship: OUCH-Maxxis on the front.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

As the pack closed in on the chase group, Boasson Hagen scampered away on the eighth ascent of the Wall, with Rock Racing’s David Vitoria on his wheel. There were less than 30 miles remaining and it looked like the budding Norwegian superstar and his Swiss companion would take ownership of the race when they dropped the peloton by two minutes and closed to within 1:44 of the three leaders.

“When Boasson Hagen was in that break we could save energy,” Greipel said. “We thought that he could come across to the breakaway … but I think he was a little bit tired. He did the Giro for the last three weeks.”

In some years, the move by Boasson Hagen could have succeeded, but the slow start to Sunday’s race meant that most of the field was much fresher than usual on a day of low humidity and 80-degree temperatures. After Zirbel fell back from the break, the pack caught Boasson Hagen and Vitoria on the final big lap, and then captured Kobzarenko and Oss on the first of the three closing 3-mile loops over Lemon Hill and around the Parkway.

That’s when Colombia took over, putting four of its white-and-yellow-suited team riders at the front with 6 miles left. All seven of them led the peloton into the final 3 miles. But as they hit the Parkway for the last time, with a mile remaining, only Eisel of the Columbia men remained at the front.

That soon changed. Boasson Hagen had his second wind to pull Greipel forward, and then the revived Henderson did his stuff as they headed back toward the finish.

Some famous names have crossed that line in first place, including Heiden in 1985, Lance Armstrong, Sean Yates and George Hincapie in the 1990s, and Henk Vogels, Stefano Zanini and Juan-José Haedo in this century.

André Greipel has now completed the Philly race’s quarter-century. Let’s hope there will be another 25 years of what is an essential element in the success of pro racing in this country.

Photo Gallery

Results

Philadelphia International Championship results

  • 1. Andre Greipel (GER), Team Columbia-Highroad, 156mi in 6:24:04
  • 2. Greg Henderson (NZL), Team Columbia-Highroad, same time
  • 3. Kirk O’Bee (USA), Bissell Pro Cycling, at 0:01
  • 4. Harald Starzengruber (AUT), Elk Haus, at 0:01
  • 5. David Vitoria (SUI), Rock Racing, at 0:01
  • 6. Keven Lacombe (CAN), Planet Energy, at 0:01
  • 7. Alejandro Borrajo (ARG), Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light, at 0:01
  • 8. Christofer Stevenson (SWE), Swedish National Team, at 0:01
  • 9. Lucas Haedo (ARG), Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light, at 0:01
  • 10. Andrew Pinfold (CAN), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 0:01
  • 11. Alex Candelario (USA), Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 0:01
  • 12. Soren Petersen (DEN), Danish National Team, at 0:01
  • 13. Tony Cruz (USA), BMC Racing Team, at 0:01
  • 14. Johnathon Cantwell (AUS), Fly V Australia, at 0:01
  • 15. Evan Elken (USA), Land Rover-Orbea, at 0:02
  • 16. Martin Kohler (SUI), BMC Racing Team, at 0:02
  • 17. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Rock Racing, at 0:02
  • 18. David Tanner (AUS), Rock Racing, at 0:02
  • 19. Hagen Boasson (NOR), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 0:02
  • 20. Marco Pinotti (ITA), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 0:03
  • 21. Wil Routley (USA), Jelly Belly Cycling Team, at 0:03
  • 22. Vicente Reynes (ESP), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 0:03
  • 23. Bernard Sulzberger (AUS), Fly V Australia, at 0:03
  • 24. Chad Beyer (USA), BMC Racing Team, at 0:04
  • 25. Frank Pipp (USA), Bissell Pro Cycling, at 0:04
  • 26. Floyd Landis (USA), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 0:05
  • 27. Kenneth Hanson (USA), Team Type 1, at 0:05
  • 28. Jonathan Garcia (USA), BMC Racing Team, at 0:07
  • 29. Chris Jones (USA), Team Type 1, at 0:07
  • 30. Karl Menzies (AUS), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 0:07
  • 31. Brian Vandborg (DNK), Liquigas, at 0:07
  • 32. Charlas Dionne (CAN), Fly V Australia, at 0:07
  • 33. Peter Salon (USA), USA National Team, at 0:08
  • 34. Peter Latham (NZL), Bissell Pro Cycling, at 0:08
  • 35. Bruno Langlois (CAN), Planet Energy, at 0:10
  • 36. Andreas Stillfors (SWE), Swedish National Team, at 0:10
  • 37. Moises Aldape (MEX), Team Type 1, at 0:11
  • 38. Nic Sanderson (AUS), Rock Racing, at 0:11
  • 39. Steve Bovay (SUI), BMC Racing Team, at 0:11
  • 40. Matthew Winstead (USA), Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy, at 0:11
  • 41. Valeriy Kobzarenko (UKR), Team Type 1, at 0:11
  • 42. Neil Shirley (USA), Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 0:11
  • 43. Martin Gilbert (CAN), Planet Energy, at 0:16
  • 44. John Murphy (USA), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 0:18
  • 45. Allesandro Bazzanna (ITA), Fly V Australia, at 0:18
  • 46. Georg Lauscha (AUT), Elk Haus, at 0:24
  • 47. Scottie Weiss (USA), Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy, at 0:25
  • 48. Stefan Rucker (AUT), Elk Haus, at 0:25
  • 49. Alex Howes (USA), USA National Team, at 0:25
  • 50. Jose Benitez (ESP), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:25
  • 51. James Camut (USA), Land Rover-Orbea, at 0:26
  • 52. Tom Soladay (USA), Team Mountain Khakis, at 0:28
  • 53. Matt Wilson (AUS), Team Type 1, at 0:34
  • 54. Philipp Mamos (GER), Amore & Vita Pro Racing Team p/b Life Time Fitness, at 0:35
  • 55. Darren Lill (RSA), Team Type 1, at 0:38
  • 56. Yuriy Metlushenko (UKR), Amore & Vita Pro Racing Team p/b Life Time Fitness, at 0:43
  • 57. Daniel Bowman (USA), Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 0:44
  • 58. Matthew Rice (AUS), Jelly Belly Cycling Team, 156mi, at 6:24:04
  • 59. Rory Sutherland (AUS), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 0:46
  • 60. Ryan Roth (CAN), Planet Energy, at 0:48
  • 61. Ermanno Capelli (ITA), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:49
  • 62. Francois Parisien (CAN), Planet Energy, at 0:53
  • 63. Davide Vigano (ITA), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:53
  • 64. Bernhard Eisel (AUT), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 1:03
  • 65. Danilo Wyss (SUI), BMC Racing Team, at 1:03
  • 66. Cladio Corioni (ITA), Liquigas, at 1:05
  • 67. Richard England (AUS), Amore & Vita Pro Racing Team p/b Life Time Fitness, at 1:10
  • 68. Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Liquigas, at 1:11
  • 69. Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA), Liquigas, at 1:12
  • 70. Gert Dockx (BEL), Team Columbia-Highroad, at 1:18
  • 71. Jacob Erker (CAN), Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 1:19
  • 72. Jonathan Clarke (AUS), Jelly Belly Cycling Team, at 1:26
  • 73. Ben Maynes (USA), Bissell Pro Cycling, at 1:29
  • 74. Bernard Van Ulden (USA), Jelly Belly Cycling Team, at 1:55
  • 75. Jonathan Mccarty (USA), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 2:00
  • 76. Hilton Clarke (AUS), Fuji-Servetto, at 2:15
  • 77. Reid Mumford (USA), Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 2:34
  • 78. Davide Frattini (ITA), Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light, at 2:41
  • 79. Steffen Radochla (GER), Elk Haus, at 2:50
  • 80. Paolo Bailetti (ITA), Fuji-Servetto, at 2:53
  • 81. Ricardo Serrano (ESP), Fuji-Servetto, at 3:03
  • 82. Anibal Borrajo (ARG), Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light, at 3:22
  • 83. Daniel Summerhill (USA), USA National Team, at 9:35
  • 84. Bobby Sweeting (USA), Land Rover-Orbea, at 9:35
  • 85. Tomas Lofgren (SWE), Swedish National Team, at 9:35
  • 86. Chad Gerlach (USA), Amore & Vita Pro Racing Team p/b Life Time Fitness, at 9:35
  • 87. Lucas Persson (SWE), Swedish National Team, at 9:35
  • 88. Tom Zirbel (USA), Bissell Pro Cycling, at 9:35
  • 89. Francesco Chicchi (ITA), Liquigas, at 9:35
  • 90. Roman Uden (NZL), Land Rover-Orbea, at 9:35
  • 91. Russell Stevenson (USA), Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy, at 9:35
  • 92. Bennet Genugten (USA), Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy, at 9:35
  • 93. Tim Henry (USA), DLP Racing, at 9:35
  • 94. Andrew Guptill (USA), Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light, at 9:35
  • 95. Adam Myerson (USA), Team Mountain Khakis, at 9:35
  • 96. Scott Tietzel (USA), DLP Racing, at 0:12:38
  • 97. Taylor Tolleson (USA), BMC Racing Team, at 0:12:38
  • 98. Scott Davis (AUS), Fly V Australia, at 0:12:38
  • 99. Ben Day (AUS), Fly V Australia, at 0:12:38
  • 100. Anthony Colby (USA), Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light, at 0:12:38
  • 101. Aaron Tuckerman (NZL), Land Rover-Orbea, at 0:12:38
  • 102. Alexander Wetterall (SWE), Swedish National Team, at 0:12:38
  • 103. Caleb Fairly (USA), USA National Team, at 0:12:38
  • 104. Bradley White (USA), OUCH p/b Maxxis, at 0:12:38
  • 105. Charles Huff (USA), Jelly Belly Cycling Team, at 0:12:38
  • 106. Nicholas Reistad (USA), Jelly Belly Cycling Team, at 0:12:38
  • 107. Tyler Stanfield (USA), Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy, at 0:12:38