Fresh off a 9th place in the road race at USA national championships, Alexis Ryan will line up for CANYON//SRAM Racing in the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic on Sunday 5 June in Philadelphia, USA. Ryan will be joined by Belarusian road champion and last year's third place-getter Alena Amialiusik. The duo will have Italian national road champion Elena Cecchini, Tiffany Cromwell, Mieke Kröger and Hannah Barnes to support them.
The 118km race, part of the UCI Women's WorldTour, is expected to draw a strong international line up of riders with most of the top European teams making the trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Since 2013 a new format has seen shorter laps and a finish line atop the Manayunk Wall. The peloton will take on the infamous Manayunk Wall no less than six times and with a $5000 QOM prize on offer, racing should be animated.
Ryan can't wait to start in her third Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. “The Manayunk Wall and the crowd are incredible there. I love short, steep climbs and this one is an American classic. You can’t beat the crowds at this race.”
Following a disappointing result in the individual time trial at national championships, Ryan turned it around for a 9th place in the road race. “My hamstrings seized during the time trial and I couldn’t sustain high power. I stretched and had a lot of treatment and I felt better, although not 100% on the start line for the road race. It was my body giving out in the time trial, not my mind, but I felt ashamed and hungry to redeem myself in the road race. Considering what happened the day before, I am content with the 9th place. If my body had been in a good way all weekend, I know I could have been on the podium. To still make the top ten gives me confidence for better results in the future.”
Looking ahead to Sunday's race in Philadelphia Ryan predicts it to be aggressive from the start. "I think it will be a harder race than it has been in the past. There has always been an international field, but the elevation to WorldTour status is encouraging more European teams to make the trip over. I think the lesser known teams will be aggressive from the beginning to try and make a break. Historically, the race comes back together in the remaining laps and the big teams take over coming into the final ascent of Manayunk.”
“The lead-in to the final ascent of Manayunk is key. There is always a fight for first position coming into the bottom chicane. If you aren't near the front there, you can pretty much write off a great result. The climb is too hard and short to make up positions. Then you need to have patience and launch your final move when it's right for you."
Racing action can be followed on the team's Twitter @WMNcycling or using #UCIWWT.
By Beth Duryea