Fast and fabulous women's peloton
It's an atypical day when the women's peloton catches the men's peloton on a circuit race, something that happened for the first time in the history of the Liberty Classic/TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships on Sunday.
Some 150 women gathered at the staging area to watched the professional men complete three parade laps around Logan's Circle. Once the men set off on course toward Manayunk, the women's race got underway.
"I was a little confused why we were not crossing the men's peloton in the opposite direction like we usually do," said Teutenberg. "And then I saw the back of their caravan and I knew that we were going to catch them."
The women's field was off to a fast start with attacks coming from Trixi Worrack and Kristy Scheffenacker (Altarum) on the first two laps. A threatening break of eleven riders separated themselves from the field at the end of the second lap. TIBCO, not represented in the move, put its power on the front of the field and brought it back before it could gain too much time.
The average speeds were so fast that they collided with the back of the men's field, who were traveling at an unusually slow speed, mid-way through the third lap on Kelly Drive. "We only do four laps so it's on the whole time. These girls are European road racers and they are used to doing four hour rides full gas. This was more like a circuit race to them," said Olds.
The men's peloton was neutralised until the women completed the final lap and half, leaving the roads wide open for the finale. The women made their way over the cobbled chicane and up the fourth and last climb of the race. Columbia-Highroad lined up their climbers Mara Abbott, Kim Anderson and Judith Arndt to set the pace that few could follow.
"The last lap was all together going into the climb," Olds said. "They got up to the front and drilled it hard into the bottom so that the field was completely strung out. Then they used riders to jump over the climb. By the top they had four girls all at the front and used them to make a separation in the field."