The Liberty Classic had everything needed for a great bike race — a long solo breakaway, a calculated chase by the field and a dramatic field sprint seeing the current world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno d’Asolo) winning ahead of Shelley Olds (Diadora Pasta Zara) and Jennifer Purcell (Team Danbury Audi) in two hours, 28 minutes, 28 seconds.
“I was not so good today but I must thank my team because the girls did the best work today,” Bronzini said. “I did not feel good on the first climb and I was trying not to spend energy in the race but save it. On the last lap, I spent a lot of power to stay up on the climb, and I tried to recover for the sprint.”
Most of the race was led by Canadian Lex Albrecht (Juvederm-Specialized) who made a solo move on the first lap to go for the Queen of the Mountain competition, which she won after staying away for three of the four laps.
“I was aiming for the QOM jersey and that’s what I got,” Albrecht said. “But after the first lap I saw I was going really well so I just decided to gun it and see how long I could stay for. It’s pretty special because this was only my second time doing this race and last year I crashed out early. I’ve been thinking about this race for a whole year. It’s a great course and I love the spectators.”
Winning on such a difficult course as one rider, alone, on the front is a near impossibility, and the strong teams calculated their catch to perfection on the last lap. Going into the finish with a field sprint meant the various teams tried to position their sprinters in the best location — near the front but not on the front.
The Colavita Forno d’Asolo team had two sprint cards to play in Bronzini and Philadelphia rider Theresa Cliff-Ryan. Neither rider felt in their top shape today but each had enough to get to the final kilometer where they could be a one-two punch in the sprint.
“My legs were not the greatest but I can still sprint, so I knew if I could make it to the finish I could do it,” Cliff-Ryan said. “It’s such a great feeling to race here every year with all the fans. We did a lot of work and in the last 5km I told Giorgia we both make the sprint because that is our best chance. There was a lot of fighting in the sprint today but we got the win, and with the world champion too!”
Still Cliff-Ryan managed a top-10 result after working for her teammate.
This was Bronizini’s first time racing the Liberty Classic, but for the world champion wearing the famed rainbow jersey the course and the Manayunk Wall were not too difficult to manage.
“Not so much,” she said of the difficulty of The Wall. “Four times is good for my legs! I took the wall in the first position, and I finished it in the middle every time.”
Best Young Rider was Lindsay Myers (Danbury Audi) who finished 25th in the bunch sprint.
Top 10 Results (Complete Results)
|1.||Bronzini Giorgia||Colavita Forno d’Asolo||2:28:28|
|2.||Olds Shelley||Diadora Pasta Zara||st|
|3.||Purcel Jennifer||Team Danbury Audi|
|4.||Numainville Joelle||TIBCO – To The Top|
|6.||Kiesanowski Joanne||TIBCO – To The Top|
|7.||Gokey-Smith Christina||NOW and Novartis for MS|
|8.||Vangilder Laura||Mellow Mushroom|
|9.||Cliff-Ryan Theresa||Colavita Forno d’Asolo|
|10.||Guarischi Barbara||Colavita Forno d’Asolo|