The Philly Week amuse-gueule, the Lehigh Classic exploded with speed and gave us a surprising finish. The second stop of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling series, the Reading Classic will be held for the third year in Reading PA on Thursday June 4th.
The men will cover 74 miles riding 10 laps on a challenging circuit through Reading’s streets with three climbs up Mt. Penn. The course begins and ends in Reading where riders will wind through the streets of Reading, climb Walnut Street, pass the Feed Zone on Constitution Boulevard and return on Perkiomen. The final three laps add a tough switchback climb up Mt. Penn before rejoining the circuit.
In the two previous incarnations, the race was won in the final 500 meters, which has two 90 degree turns, with the final turn at 100 meters to the finish line. In the first race on this course, Greg Henderson, then racing on the Health Net-Maxxis team, won the race by exploding away from a 4-man break and last year Bernard Eisel, then on T-Mobile team, charged away from the peloton, both moves in the final 500 meters. Eisel went on to win the Triple Crown er crown.
This year, Henderson and Eisel race for the same team, High Road, and are definitely ones to watch, but the roster is full of riders to watch. Start with hungry leadout trains who lost control on Tuesday, throw in some opportunistic sprinters, mix in breakaway artists and add a dash of the spicy ProTour teams and you have a recipe for a fast and furious race.
The women will cover 25 miles by racing 14 laps on an eight-corner criterium circuit through Reading’s streets. German Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (High Road) won this race in the two previous years, but she varied her methods. In 2006, Teutenberg bridged up to a solo rider Kat Carroll, and the duo worked together until the finish line when Teutenberg took the one-on-one sprint. Last year, it came down to a bunch sprint which Teutenberg won ahead of Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci Breakaway) and Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine).
Teutenberg , winner of the Lehigh Classic on Tuesday, will again by riding solo as her team in is Montreal and will definitely be a marked woman. Watch for the sprinters’ train to try and leadout Van Gilder and Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) for the win.
The weather could play a factor, as according to the weather folks, there are 50% chance of thunderstorms on Thursday, with humidity around 80% is expected in the early afternoon.