Phenomenal in Philly - Podium Sweep for Women
A repeat victor. A breakthrough performance. A podium sweep for SRAM-sponsored athletes.
After a final suspenseful (and agonizing) sprint up the famed Manayunk Wall, the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic women’s race ended with American Evelyn Stevens of Specialized lululemon of repeating her victory from a year ago. She was followed close behind by Canadian Lex Albrecht, who gave Twenty16 Pro Cycling one of its top results of the season. American Lauren Hall of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies was third. All three women rode SRAM RED components. Specialized lululemon also uses Zipp bars, stems and seatposts and Twenty16, Zipp bars, stems, seatposts and Quarq power meters.
The race, which finishes atop the Manayunk Wall, is one of the marque events on the U.S cycling calendar. It also features equal prize money for the Men’s and Women’s elite races. SRAM NRS provided neutral race support for the event. Stevens, one of the world's top female racers, covered the 60 gruelling miles in 2:58:27.
Steven's victory was rooted in Specialized lululemon's teamwork and strategy. Said Stevens: "We knew that the race was going to likely be decided the last time up the Wall, so we had the whole team do a lead out into the climb. Ally (Stacher) started it off, then Tayler (Wiles) came through with massive horsepower and then Carmen (Small) launched a lethal attack up the base of the climb and I countered it once she was caught. We had to change our tactics a bit since Karol Ann (Canuel), our little pocket rocket and a key to how we were approaching the climb, suffered a serious crash. I think we all rode a bit harder thinking about her and we know she is a tough cookie and will heal up fast.... It is always so special to ride flawlessly as a team and deliver the win, I was the one who crossed the line first but I felt like I got a piggy back ride for most of the race because the girls rode so well."
Stevens added: "My SRAM RED was perfect for this course. It is the lightest component set out there and that little difference can often be the difference between first and second. I rode a 26/11 and my shifting was great, because I never noticed it, it was a seamless part of the race."
Albrecht’s second place was her first podium performance in a UCI 1.1 classification professional race. This was her fourth Philly race. She placed sixth last year, the first time the event finished on the Wall, so knew what gearing setup to use. “I asked our team mechanic Vincent Gee to throw on a SRAM Red 22 cassette with a 28 tooth gear on in the back to make sure I could spin up the steep Manayunk Wall without my legs getting too bogged down,” Albrecht said.
She also said her Twenty16 teammates helped her save – and not foolishly waste – precious energy during the race.
“My teammates covered the most dangerous breakaway attempts earlier on in the race and made some aggressive attacks when the pace needed to be kept high. I had some help staying up at the front and keeping calm towards the end of the race when my first instinct would have been to shell a lot of energy chasing a non-threatening breakaway,” she said. “Positioning was key on a fast section coming into a technical chicane at the base of the final climb. I fought to keep position up front, but it didn't work quite as well as I hoped. Coming into the climb with around 15 riders strung ahead of me, I had a lot of work to do to cover the ground to get to the front before the finish. Thanks to he energy my teammates helped me save, we managed to score second…. Personally for me, finishing 2nd on the podium has only made me hungrier getting Twenty16 on the top step at the most important races.”
SRAM NRS kept riders taken care of out on course.
Photos ©Darrell Parks Photography