Posted by Editoress on 05/22/09
Celebrating its twenty-fifth year, the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship is known by professional cyclists worldwide and is considered a major win for any rider's career. Like every other year, this silver anniversary will welcome some of the top cycling teams from around the world and from across America, bringing big names of the sport to race up the famous Manayunk Wall.
Fittingly, in this milestone year for America’s largest single-day pro race, more nations than ever will be represented in the peloton. In fact, pros from 26 countries will be on the start line of the majestic Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Many factors will combine over the course of the 156 miles to follow, determining which one – and which nation – will claim victory in the end, some six hours later.
The number-one ranked team in the world, Columbia-High Road, tops the list of ProTour teams. (The ProTour designation is reserved for the top 20 teams in the world.) Based in California, the Columbia-High Road team amassed 153 wins in 2008. The team is continuing its winning ways in 2009, including five stage wins so far in one of the three Grand Tours of the year, the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy). And the team is not taking the Philadelphia International lightly, bringing some of its top riders, including Austrian Bernhard Eisel, who dominated the then three-race series in 2007 by winning two races and the overall Triple Crown title. His teammate, New Zealander Greg Henderson, won both the Philadelphia Championship and the Reading Classic in 2006, which launched his current European racing career. Finally for Columbia-High Road, a young but already successful rider is 22 year-old Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway, who won a stage of the Giro d'Italia this year.
The Italian Liquigas team is also bringing an impressive line-up, including Manuel Quinziato, one of the top one-day race specialists who has two top 10 results already this year. His teammate, Francesco Chicchi, is a former U23 world champion. The final ProTour team is Fuji-Servetto. Their bike sponsor, Fuji Bikes, is a Philadelphia-based company with a long history in professional cycling sponsorship. One of their riders, Australian Hilton Clarke, is a tough sprinter who spent many years racing and winning in North America before moving to the top level of the sport.
Two 'Pro Continental' teams have also accepted invitations -- Austria's Elk Haus and Team BMC. Though based in America, Team BMC's hybrid of talent comes from the title sponsor's home country of Switzerland -- with riders such as Alexandre Moos and Markus Zberg -- to Americans with names such as Tony Cruz and Scott Nydam. Nydam was the King of the Mountains winner of the 2008 Tour of California while Cruz is a veteran professional with years of experience racing in Europe.
One of the highlights of this race is the chance for the Continental or registered professional teams that race almost entirely in North America to compete alongside the ProTour cyclists. A win from one of these teams can make their entire season -- and the winning rider is often courted by upper-division teams, as was Greg Henderson in 2006.
One of the top domestic teams is Ouch-Maxxis, which has won USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar series four of the past five years. Once again they are racking up the top wins with riders such as Australian Rory Sutherland who won the Joe Martin stage race for the third time this year in May. The team also boasts former Tour of California and Tour de Georgia winner Floyd Landis, a Pennsylvania native.
The Rock Racing team has a wealth of veteran racing talent that always makes it a contender, no matter what the race. American Fred Rodriguez has won this race three times (2000, 2001, 2004) and is always looking to top the podium again. His teammate, Rahsaan Bahati, is the current US national criterium champion and one of the fastest sprinters in the country. The Amore & Vita-McDonalds team used last year's race series to make a name for themselves on the international scene with Ukrainian Yuri Metlushenko winning the Allentown race in a hard-fought field sprint.
Fly V Australia is a new outfit this year, but with a lot of experienced talent, including former US junior national champion Phil Zajicek. The Colavita/Sutter Home/Cooking Light team has a lot of fast talent on their roster, including Argentinean Sebastian Haedo, who is the younger brother to 2007 Philly champion Juan Jose Haedo and is arguably just as fast. The Kelly Benefits Strategies team boasts an updated roster of strong riders, led by veteran Alex Candelario who was fifth in the Philadelphia International in 2008. Canadian, Zach Bell, silver medalist in the 2009 World Track championships, adds some more speed for their team.
Rounding out the men's field are national teams from the United States, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Nigeria and Denmark. These are the teams that have been designated by individual country cycling federations to represent their nations. The US national team is made-up of the U23 development squad of the Garmin-Slipstream team, which finished fourth in the Tour de France in 2008 with American Christian Vande Velde.
With the unique talents of the world-class mountain climbers and sprinters, the 25th Championship win cannot be predicted. This is what makes the race a chess match on wheels.
Team Columbia – High Road: USA
BMC Racing Team: USA
Elk Haus: AUT
Fly V Australia: Australia
Planet Energy: Canada
Bissell Pro Cycling: USA
Colavita / Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light: USA
Jelly Belly Cycling Team: USA
Kelly Benefits Strategies: USA
Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Spinergy: USA
Land Rover – Orbea: USA
Ouch Presented by Maxxis: USA
Rock Racing: USA
Team Mountain Khakis: USA
Team Type 1: USA
Amore & Vita: USA
DLP Racing: USA
Swedish National Team: Sweden
USA National Team: USA
Czech Republic National Team: Czech Republic
Nigerian National Team: Nigeria
Danish National Team: Denmark
Nations Represented by Cyclists:
Total Riders: 252
Total Countries: 26
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|