Before today’s Liberty Classic, the High Road women’s team had won 2 races at the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, one World Cup (Montreal), 3 stage wins and the overall at the Tour du Tour du Grand Montréal.
Going into the final race of Philly Week, the High Road team led by twice-defending champion Ina-Yoko Teutenberg were watched by everyone but that didn’t stop them and neither did the oppressive heat from pulling out an eighth and ninth win in eighth days. While the German sprinter was marked by all, her teammate Chantal Beltman attacked from of a late-race, four-rider break to pull out a solo win. Six seconds later, Brooke Miller (Tibco) won the field sprint to take second and Teutenberg was third.
“We won as a team today,” said Beltman. “When you have a strong sprinter like Ina on your team, you are always in a good position. We have six strong riders so we had a lot of cards to play.”
The High Road team put in attack after attack to dwindle the numbers in the field, assisted with temperatures that soared closed to 100 degrees by the end of the 57.6-mile race. On the fourth and final lap, High Road launched a 3-woman attack with Kim Anderson, Mara Abbott and Beltman. Mt Hood stage winner and overall Sprint winner Joanne Kiesanowski (Tibco) was the only rider able to respond, and the foursome crested the 17-percent Mayanunk Wall together, then rocketed downhill toward the finish line.
A group of four chasers was twenty seconds behind and then the rest of the group twenty seconds later. And it became a numbers game for the High Road women to drop the tenacious New Zealander Kiesanowski. Anderson attacked first, then Abbot threw his speed in forcing the isolated Kiwi to chase. As soon at US National Champion Abbot was caught, Beltman launched her counter-attack and was off.
As soon as Joanne caught Mara, I went on my own just before Lemon Hill,” explained Beltman. “From there I just gave it my all because I knew I had nothing to lose. If the field catches me, then we have Ina for the sprint. We had it under control all day. It was awesome.”
While Teutenberg missed out on delivering a record-breaking Hat Trick for the second time, she did manage to win the the Triple Crown for the third year running.
“I would have been sad if my teammate didn’t win,” said Teutenberg,the consumate team player. “But since High Road won, that’s all that matters. We wanted to win the race and that’s what we did.”