Photography by Darrell Parks – www.darrellparks.com –
The day’s racing started under cool, overcast skies – and it would stay that way.
As always, the opening circuits were hectic, and by the end of the first big lap, the break was beginning to form.
By the second of ten ascents of the Manayunk Wall, the day’s early break was complete: Glen Chadwick (Pure Black), Roman Kilun (Kenda pb Geargrinder), Bruno Langlois (SpiderTech), Alex Hagman (Jelly Belly), and Quinn Keogh (Exergy).
Behind, there was not much else to do, but survive the Wall…over and over again.
The spectators were kept on their toes by a surprise visit from Liquor Enforcement. Oh the drama!
Even on a cool day in Philly, it never hurts to get that trademark spray on the Wall.
Splits were a constant theme of the day’s aggressive racing.
As the day wore on, the break’s gap ballooned to six minutes, then ten, but a little under the halfway point of the 154 mile day, the gap began to tumble.
The peloton makes the turn into the Wall.
The Manayunk Wall – one of the most famous stretches of road in American cycling.
It’s only usually a little over two minutes from bottom to top, but it’s a painful pairing of two sixty second periods.
Back in Philadelphia proper, the pace was high as the break’s gap melted.
Former Tour de France fourth place finisher, Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com), lit the fuse on the seventh trip up the Wall. The Spaniard took Frank Pipp (Bissell) and Andres Miguel Diaz (Exergy) with him.
The trio bridged across to the early break, then pushed right on through, taking only Langlois, from the original move, with them. On the tenth and final trip up the Wall, Pipp was left behind, leaving only three at the front, and a full on chase coming up from behind.
HTC-Highroad were in perfect position until their designated sprinter for the day, Leigh Howard, ran into technical difficulties in the finale. With Howard gone, the responsibility fell to Rasmussen, and he would soon prove himself more than capable of shouldering the load.
With three kilometers remaining, the break was finally relieved of its duties, and the stage was set for a wild bunch sprint.
The final trip through Logan Circle was a mess with riders crashing everywhere, leaving only a small, lucky group of about 20 to contest the sprint. UnitedHealthcare’s Robert Fцrster got the early jump, but the headwind did him no favors, and he was swamped by Liquigas’s Peter Sagan and HTC’s Alex Rasmussen just meters from the line.
Rasmussen grabbed the win by half a bike length, and afterwards, looked like he had just raced for six hours.
Jelly Belly’s Alex Hagman was the happy recipient of a one thousand, one hundred dollar check as this year’s KOM winner.
The 2011 podium: Rasmussen, Sagan, Fцrster.
1 Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad 5:59:04
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3 Robert Fцrster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
4 Ken Hanson (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
5 Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Type 1 – Sanofi Aventis
6 James Williamson (NZl) Pureblack Racing
7 Matthias Friedemann (Ger) Champion System
8 Yosvany Falcon (Cub) Realcyclist.com Cycling Team
9 Aaron Kemps (Aus) V Australia Pro Cycling Team
10 Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) Team Exergy
11 Shawn Milne (USA) Kenda presented by Gear Grinder
12 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy 0:00:03
13 Hilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
14 Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (Arg) Jamis – Sutter Home
15 Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slo) Team Type 1 – Sanofi Aventis 0:00:05
16 Serhy Hrechyn (Ukr) Amore & Vita
17 Thomas Scully (NZl) Chipotle Development Team
18 Alexander Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies – Optum Health
19 Frank Travieso (USA) Realcyclist.com Cycling Team
20 Danny Summerhill (USA) Chipotle Development Team
21 Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1 – Sanofi Aventis 0:00:08