One of the stories at the 25th edition of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship was the solo break of Daniel Holloway, of the Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin team, who was riding for the USA National Team. The 22-year old was off like a rocket and just kept on pressing and extending his lead to the field with a lone chaser, Andrew Talansky (Amore e Vita) on his heels almost catching him twice on the climb up Mayanunk Wall. Two other riders tried to bridge to the duo up front but we soon caught by the women’s field who for the first time ever, caught and passed the men’s field.
During his 80-mile adventure, Holloway played the crowd and had them chanting USA every time he went up the Wall and every time they saw another member of the USA National Team. I caught up with Holloway and his teammate Alex Howes later that Sunday evening as they, and I, were relaxing at a bar where we chatted about the race and more.
Why did you go off so early today?
Holloway: So I had this dream. I had a dream. No, I thought that the race was going to start fast, it didn’t start fast. I heard there was daylight so I got aero and nobody caught me for 80 miles.
Howes: Now he has a reputation of being premature.
Holloway: Yeah, because apparently it was a neutral lap or a parade lap (laughs).
Howes: (laughs) and he was just gone
And what were people saying in the back when he went?
Howes: They didn’t say anything.
Peanut gallery: oh suicide
Holloway: I didn’t know. Our director did not inform us of the parade lap. I was just expecting a fast start and had it in the big ring, and c’est la vie.
Howes: He doesn’t play by the rules.
And did you know that Talansky was chasing you?
Holloway: Yeah, I saw the time gaps in the small laps, I could see him coming and Chann just told me, like let him catch you, don’t sit up for him. At first he was gaining and then all of a sudden he held steady and then he went back, came forward, went back, came forward. Finally on the third, no fourth time up the wall he was really close, halfway he was like 10 or 15 seconds and then I got over the top, halfway down the descent and Chann was like I don’t know where he went, he detonated, so I just put my head down again. And then he caught me at the bottom of Lemon Hill and then we rolled, and then I dropped him again I guess.
I saw you zigzagging, playing the crowd, asking for drinks (laughs)
Holloway: The zigzag was … I mean I had such a big gap that I could just do the wall at my own pace and not really worry about it and try to make it as easy as possible so the flats were easier and that was just my way, tt wasn’t that I was hurting that bad. And then, I just play to the crowd normally. It was a good opportunity to get the crowd, get them into USA and into Daniel, so I did that. The whole drink thing, that part of the course had a sign that said ‘If you wave, we will drink’. I was waiting for them to drink, I wanted them to get hammered.
Howes: And then by the fifth lap, it worked out pretty well, they were pretty drunk.
Holloway: By the fifth lap, the guy couldn’t even hold up the sign anymore, the guys in the field never saw the sign because he was too drunk to hold it up.
Howes: With this clown up front, the whole crowd every time we went up was just chanting USA. That worked out pretty well (both chuckle) It was kind of cool.
Holloway: Yeah, it’s cool for the morale. That doesn’t happen too often that you get a whole, hundreds of people into one team and that was cool for me because I was solo and cool for the guys in the field because I’m sure they haven’t really experienced that especially in a 150+ field with huge names like Freddie, the BISSELL boys, the OUCH boys, Liquigas and Columbia. For the whole wall to be chanting USA, nobody really expects that, to have that happen and all of us being under 23 and everybody is rooting for us at Philly is phenomenal. I think that was hair-raising and I don’t think that anybody that whatsoever for that to happen. It’s pretty awesome.
Alex, what did you think of it?
Howes: It was pretty rad. The one time we went up, we went up as a team, there was five or six of us all lined up and as we went up, the whole chant followed us like ‘USA, USA, USA’ , a bunch of drunk people. It was awesome (chuckles) People spraying beer on us and everything, yeah, I was feeling the brotherly love. It was good stuff.
When did you caught?
Holloway: 75, 80 miles, I got caught right after the feedzone. After like, the fifth time up, right when Zirbel and the other two riders went. They went, caught and passed me right after the feedzone on that lap. I did my job for the first half, this guy was supposed to do the second half of the race and totally butchered it.
Howes: You’re a real buttmunch…
You didn’t think of sticking around for the KOM?
Holloway: Oh, I was definitely thinking about it. I got back into the field, started doing some motorpacing in the field, kind of come around…
Howes: He’s just a baby you know
Holloway: I was getting excited, like I feel okay in the field. Hit the wall the first time, got to the top, got a beer in the face unexpected but made my way back in. And then hit the wall again, I was like ‘this hurts but I think I can do it’ and the third time it was just KO, lights out. I.hit.the.wall. It was game over, I tried to get back, the caravan was real spread out, I was to get into the caravan but it was game over. I did one more time up Lemon Hill, through the finish line, said my thank yous.
Yep, I saw that. So would you do this again?
Go that early?
Holloway: No, not go this early, but I would love to come back.
Howes: It’s an excellent tactic, it was totally tactical.
Holloway: If you’re a junior and you want to get away and you don’t believe in yourself, just go in the neutral, that’s my tip for juniors. When in doubt attack in the neutral.
Howes: No one will expect it.
However, the girls passed them and not you.
Holloway: I did not get chicked which was awesome.
I call it girled.
Holloway: chicked, girled.
Howes: I would go with girled, according to Webster’s.
They got girled.
Howes: Oh yeah, we got girled.
Holloway: 150 guys got girled, I think all but four guys I think. Because there was me …
The first time, it was the four guys up front and then the women. And then the next lap, it was the two of you and then the women, the two other guys were in the women’s field.
Holloway: oh, so they got girled.
Howes: I’m okay with that.
Holloway: You always go into a stage race with a time trial and Kristin Armstrong shows up, you’re like okay I can accept that one, but I can’t get girled by second place, Kristin is amazing. Just go into a stage race like Cascades and you hit the time trial, and you’re ‘I can’t get girled’ and a lot of guys get girled.
She beats half the men’s field at a TT.
Holloway: For sure, she beats half the men’s at every timetrial.
So do you think you showed anything today?
Holloway: It showed that I really didn’t think things thoroughly, it showed good team morale.
Howes: Not good at planning things ahead…
Holloway: No, I think it was good especially for us, as young guys in USA Cycling. USA Cycling with the U23 program always needs press and they’ve done such great things for everybody as old a generation as Zabriskie to new generation as Tyler and the up and comers as Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garden, our crew. Most of our guys have spent a bunch of time with the National Team, it’s only a matter of time before we all make that step, we all break through, go Pro Tour and start winning races.
Howes: Or go to college (both laugh)
Holloway: Juniors, education is over rated, stay on your bikes.
Howes: Attack in neutral, burn your books.
Holloway: Take your textbooks light them on fire for stage races you can’t afford. That’s my advice.
On that note, thanks.