Both the HTC-Highroad men and women’s teams are raring to go for the Philadelphia International and Liberty Classic this weekend. With a young and powerful men’s group this year, sports director Allan Peiper is confident in the potential of his line-up, particularly from a tactical standpoint.
“Leigh [Howard] has been in the U.S. since the Tour of California and he’s quite focused for a win,” Peiper says, “He was with [Matt] Goss last year when he won, and now Leigh has a good chance.”
“Alex [Rasmussen] and Patrick [Gretsch] will be riding for us and though they’re just off the Giro, Alex was second in last stage’s TT and Gretsch was eighth, so I think they’ll have the depth it takes to go the distance and help Leigh in the final.”
“Matt Brammeier has been riding quite well, and Caleb Fairly did an excellent job at nationals in Greenville,” added Peiper, “So we’ve only got five riders but five strong ones who are after the win.”
“We’ll have to go strong from the start and set the pace so we aren’t behind the eight-ball for the finish. We want to attack, to be in every break, and get the group chasing us out of the gate.”
While the young bucks on the HTC-Highroad men’s team are motivated to come out guns blazing, the women’s team has enlisted a powerful and versatile line-up to retain their title in the Liberty Classic after Ina Teutenberg’s victory last year.
“We have a really good team with a wide range of expertise,” says women’s sports director Ronny Lauke, “We are prepared for really any situation with Amber [Neben] and Evelyn [Stevens], and with Adrie Visser’s experience backed by several up-and-comers [Miller, Stacher, Hosking] I am feeling good about our chances to win.”
“This is a major race for us,” says Lauke, “The team is looking forward to it and many of them are eager to show what they can do.”
With veterans set on riding to their reputation, the younger women are out to make some big moves for the big race.
“Chloe is stepping it up, she has not had that much opportunity to show her talent this year and in Philadelphia she will be crucial for the sprints.”
“Typically this is a sprinters race, but it doesn’t mean you you can’t win alone or from a small break,” says Neben,” So although it typically comes from a bunch sprint, this is a big race and we will have a group riding aggressively up front.”
“We will take the same approach for this race that we have all year, where we use our strengths along the way and set up for the sprint if and when we have to.”