Columbia-High Road Goes One-Two in TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship

(June 7, 2009) -- After a slow start to the men's 25th annual TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship, the speeds were fast and the competition furious on the business end of the race. As expected, the pre-race favorite Columbia-High Road team took control of the field on the closing laps to put their sprinter, German Andre Greipel, on the front to take the field sprint win with teammate Greg Henderson following behind in second.


"It is great for us to have the team win like this," Greipel said about the team's sweep of the one-two finish in the men's race as well as the all-German and all-Columbia-High Road affair with teammate and German Ina Teutenberg winning the women's race. 


"We had the responsibility during the race, and everyone was looking to us," Greipel said about being the race favorites. "But we have done it a few times now, and we are pretty good at it!"


Greipel had recently won three stages of the Tour of Bavaria and the team in general has been on a winning streak for much of this season, winning stages in the prestigious Tour of Italy.


American Kirk O'Bee (Bissell Pro Cycling) was the top-American, finishing on the podium in third. 


The day started out nice and easy for the men, as they faced 156 miles of racing and more than six hours on the bike. But behind them the women's race had their guns blazing and quickly made-up the difference to the men, causing the men's race to be put on hold while the women raced through. This was the first time in the 16 years of the women's race this had occurred. 


"It's a 260 km race, you can't go so fast in the beginning," said winner Andre Greipel. "Everyone was looking to us, but it is a long race we need to save some energy for the end."


Another reason for the slow start was that the top teams like Liquigas,

Columbia-High Road
and Fuji-Servetto came from Europe, only arriving late on Friday. In years past, the racers had two other races during the week to warm-up for the long 156 miles of this race, but not this year. "It's such a great race but it was totally different not having two other races," said second-place Greg Henderson. "Everyone is so keyed up for this one race -- a lot of team's seasons are set on this race, so they want to do well here." 


The aggressive speed of the women’s peloton had a related consequence, as a solo rider had broken-away on the opening lap and built up a seven minute lead. American Daniel Halloway was still off the front when the officials 'neutralized' the men's field, but this allowed Halloway to build up to a 12 minute lead. However, being solo off the front is much more difficult, and with such a long distance to cover, it was only a matter of time before the chasing field brought the time gap back down.


Halloway was caught half-way through the race, but this ignited more attacks from the field. A dangerous trio of riders, Daniel Oss (Liquigas), Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) and American Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling), escaped and held a significant lead for much of the rest of the race. Out of this effort, Kobzarenko amassed enough points on the climb of 'The Wall' to take the King of the Wall competition, netting him some extra cash.


"For me it was about riding in the breakaway but getting some points on the climbs was good too," he said.


Back in the field, the names of the leading riders filtered through, and it was clear they were too dangerous to let go. "We saw that three good time trialers were up the road and that we had to do something about it," said Greipel. "Edwald started to go across but he was a bit too tired, so we had to chase."


The 25th running of this race came to a close in an exciting fashion with fans lining the course, from 'The Wall' in Manyunk to the climb over Lemon Hill and down along the Ben Franklin Parkway to see the cyclists wind-up their sprint to more than 40 miles per hour.



Comments (1)

Jamie Sailor
Said this on 6-25-2009 At 09:49 am
OMG that's amazing!!!! I know I can't wait to see it

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