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Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) prevailed in a mass dash to the line on Sunday in the women’s Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.
Attacks fired and fizzled, and in the end it was a large group charging up the Manayunk Wall for the final time in the 73.8-mile World Cup race.
Armitstead proved the strongest of them, taking the victory ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) with Alena Amialiusik (Velocio-SRAM) third.
She also took over the World Cup lead, with 315 points. Longo Borghini now sits second in the series with 296 while former leader Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) slipped to third with 290.
With four laps to go Jasmin Glaesser (Optum) was off the front alone. Alison Jackson (Twenty16-Sho-Air) attacked the bunch and rode up to her, but the two couldn’t stay away, and with three laps to go it was gruppo compatto going over the Manayunk Wall.
Next to have a dig was Velocio-SRAM, which began sending rider after rider off the front, starting with Tayler Wiles. But nothing stuck, and with two to go a successful break remained unrealized, though plenty of riders were going backward.
The status quo prevailed as the shrinking peloton tackled the Wall for the penultimate time. Ten riders crested with a slight advantage going into bell lap, but they soon found themselves with company on the descent. Wiggle Honda teammates Longo Borghini and Giorgia Bronzini made the lead group, as did Armitstead and Shelly Olds (Bigla).
Charlotte Becker (Hitec) was next to try her luck, taking a 20-second edge going into Lemon Hill. An attack on the climb by Lex Albrecht (Optum) briefly slashed into Becker’s advantage, but the chase remained disorganized, with riders attacking in ones and twos.
Then Twenty16 took the front and set about shutting Becker down — only to see Dalia Muccioli (Ale-Cipollini) roll off the front before the catch and open her own gap. But she too was pulled back, and then Velocio-SRAM took charge at the front.
But they would not take the title — instead, it was Armitstead who powered to the flowers.