Beltman wins solo in Philadelphia

Photo: courtesy
Team Website

Photo: courtesy
Team Website

High Road’s Chantal Beltman won the 2008 Liberty Classic race in Philadelphia, with a jaw-dropping solo effort in the last lap. This win culminated a week of High Road victories, two by Ina Teutenberg in Allentown and Reading, Pennsylvania and four by Judith Arndt in Montreal for a total of seven.

All eyes in the peloton were on Teutenberg for most of the race, as she has been the victor here twice already. With temperatures soaring close to 100 degrees and high humidity, the conditions were brutal.  When Kristen Armstrong broke away during the first lap, the burden was on High Road to bring her back when she had more than two minutes on the field. The second time up the Manayunk Wall, directeur sportif Petra Rossner told the team to move to the front and attack up and over the climb to get across to Armstrong without towing the field. The move succeeded and broke up the field but eventually the peloton regrouped through the finish line.

It was two laps later, the final time up the gruelling Manayunk climb, when the race hit the pinnacle of excitement. A group of about forty riders remained in the main group, containing most of the contenders from the major teams. Chrissie Ruiter was off the front alone and once again, it was up to High Road to make the determining move to seal the race. They attacked up the climb and crested Manayunk with three High Road riders (Beltman, Abbott, and Anderson) and Joanne Kiesanowski. A group of four chasers was twenty seconds behind and then the rest of the group twenty seconds later.

Abbott attacked up Strawberry Hill forcing Kiesanowski to chase. At the top of the hill Abbott was caught and Beltman attacked. Beltman powered solo for the final 5km of racing. The rest of the break was caught and the peloton was closing in, but Beltman held them off to take her second solo win for the season.

“I never looked back,” explained Beltman. “I just put my head down and went as hard as I could.”

Beltman who was just informed of her Olympic selection on Friday was excited by the result. “It was a really fun race,” she said. “We raced aggressively and that worked for us.”

“ It was really hot out there, but I don’t mind the heat,” she added. “I’m really happy to win such a great race.”

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg placed second in the bunch sprint to win the Triple Crown for the third year running.

“We wanted to use some different tactics out there,” she said. “In the last lap we had three riders in a break of four so it was the perfect situation for us. Chantal is in such good form and she was able to hold off the chase. She was definitely the strongest rider out there today.”


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