CSC’s Breschel scores dramatic sprint win
- Categorized in: PA Int'l Cycling Championship
June 8, 2008:
The victory was CSC’s second straight at the prestigious event that this year celebrated its 24th anniversary. A year ago, team rider J.J. Haedo grabbed the top prize. A scheduling conflict kept the Argentinean in
Americans Kirk O’Bee (Health Net-Maxxis) and Fred Rodriguez (Rock Racing) were second and third respectively in a race that lasted a record 6 hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds. The previous long day was 6:13:53 set in 2006.
“I was all by myself on the last lap,” explained Breschel, who did not have the benefit of a full lead-out train like some of his competitors. “But I got myself in a good position going through [
O’Bee estimated that the difference between first and second was about half a wheel, not much considering the race included 10 14.4-mile laps from the start-finish along Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Manayunk and back, plus three shorter circuits that went as far as Lemon Hill before circling back.
“It was a crazy last lap,” explained O’Bee, who was contesting his eighth
The 23-year-old Breschel’s win also netted him top prize in the three-race series’ overall standings, dethroning 2007 champ Bernard Eisel, who was fourth on Sunday.
“I was too much in the wind at the end,” lamented Eisel, the Austrian High Road rider. “I just didn’t have enough left after such a long day in the heat.”
Indeed, the first true East Coast heat wave of 2008 made for a brutal day of racing. It was already 79 degrees when the race started just after 9 a.m. The thermostat read 94 by the finish. Near the end of the race, one official measured the temperature of the road and got a 120-degree reading. Only 81 of the 190 starters finished the race.
“I went through so many water bottles I lost count,” explained Davide Frattini (Colavita-Sutter Home), who won the day’s King of the Mountain title, a contest that awarded points to the riders who were first over the Manayunk and Lemon Hill climbs during each lap.
While the race’s endgame came down to a battle of sprinters, the middle portions of this epic test of mettle was dominated by a seven-rider break that included Frattini, Ed King (Bissell), Brian Jensen (Team Successfulliving), Dan Ramsay (Time), Ben Kneller (Jittery Joe’s), Richard Geng (Rite Aid) and Tyler Hamilton (Rock Racing).
The group of escapees initially formed on the third of the 10 long laps, and rolled up an advantage that swelled above eight minutes at one point. But with temperatures on the rise all day, there was no way the move was going to stay away.
Kneller and Geng lost touch with the break with about 70 miles of racing remaining, and with the lap counter reading six to go, the five riders remaining in the breakaway passed under the start/finish banner with just a 1:10 advantage. The race was all back together midway through the next lap.
Next to take a crack at breakaway heroics were Team Type I Kiwi Glen Chadwick, Canadian Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) and Mexican Francisco
A handful of smaller breakaway attempts ensued, but nothing succeeded, leaving the final battle to a pack of 68 hard charging riders. Not among the group was pre-race favorite Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) who dropped out of the race early on, reportedly the victim of knee tendonitis.
Breschel, meanwhile, was proving that he’s fully recovered from a crash in February 2006 that left him with two broken vertebrae and nearly ended his career. The incident happened in a sprint not dissimilar from Sunday’s finish, except that time the baby-faced Dane was knocked unconscious.
“I hit my head very bad and was out for a couple hours,” Breschel recalled of the incident at the Belgian Three Days of
It took a while, but the promising fourth-year pro’s injuries have healed, a fact that was on full display Sunday in
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