When Rock Racing announced that they were becoming an official sponsor of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, the pressure was on the team to deliver, and baby-face Oscar Sevilla did just that today at the Reading Classic, the second race in the series.
Sevilla of Rock Racing attacked and soloed away from three breakaway companions on the third and final trip up the challenging switchback climb of Mt. Penn, to win the Reading Classic.
(Photo courtesy: Vero Image)
“I never looked back until only 500 meters were left,” Sevilla said. “It was a very hard day.”
The race got off to a rocky start, when the officials started the race a few minutes early while not all riders and team cars were ready. This caused the officials to neutralize the first lap and basically turn in into a parade lap and shorten the total miles to be raced.
As soon as the green light was given, attacks were off while teams were trying to get the right riders in the moves.
A dangerous 17-rider break nearly blew the race apart on the first of three trips up Mt. Penn. The move included a star-studded cast with the likes of Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis), Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United), Sevilla and Bernard Eisel (High Road), winner of the first two races in the 2007 Commerce Bank Triple Crown and overall winner of the series.
“We made our main move in that big break,” said Eisel. “After that I think everyone was feeling tired, and Sevilla was very strong. He deserved this win.”
But with lackluster cooperation and a charging field, the break was re-absorbed, and Bernardo Solex (Tecos-Trek) launched a counter-attack. With 2 laps to go, the Team Type 1 duo of Moises Aldape and Valeriy Kobzarenko with Sevilla bridged across to Solex.
The foursome started the final lap together, working together to try and hold off a hard-charging main field. Four soon became two, with Solex and Aldape fading. Then Kobzarenko cracked under Sevilla’s blistering pace.
“Initially my plan was just trying to get the other teams nervous and set it up for Freddy,” said Sevilla, alluding to his team’s designated sprinter, American Fred Rodriguez. “But the race was very fast all day, so I knew the others’ legs would not be so fresh.”
His tactic worked to perfection, and after burying himself over the climb, and into the final flat miles, the Spaniard was finally able to sit up and enjoy the moment.
Sevilla crossed the line with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes and 11 seconds in the 75-mile race, with lone chaser Edvald Boasson Hagen (High Road) six seconds back, and Eisel winning the field sprint, another three seconds behind.
The men now get two days of ‘rest’ before the big daddy of them all, the Philly Race (officially called the Commerce Bank Philadelphia International Championship) on Sunday, where they will face the Manayunk Wall, with its always-raucous (and often drunk) fans and precipitous grades that exceed 17 percent.
The complete race can be viewed on WFMZ but be warned that you will endure the total man-crush on Sevilla by the commentators.
Unfortunately, Karl Menzies (Health Net-Maxxis) had a bad crash during the race and it seems that he ended up with six broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a broken wrist. Best wishes to Karl.
Race Reports and Photos: cyclingnews, velonews, ProCyclingTour
Photos: ProCyclingTour, Tom Evans/CanadianCyclist
Team Reports: BMC, Rock Racing, Team Type 1
WFMZ videos, including an interview with Sevilla, and the full race broadcast