Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Ina-Yoko Teutenberg continued her dominating run at the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, taking her fifth straight win with a commanding performance at the Commerce Bank Reading Classic women's criterium on Thursday.

Teutenberg was part of a five-rider group that broke away from the field about halfway through the 25-mile race that traced a 1.8-mile circuit through downtown Reading. On the last lap the German High Road rider punched the accelerator with 200 meters to go, easily out-gunning Team Tibco's Joanne Kiesanowski. Cheerwine's Laura Van Gilder was third in the race that lasted one hour, one minute and 23 seconds.

Teutenberg also won the Lehigh Valley Classic criterium on Tuesday in Allentown, and swept the Triple Crown series a year ago.

"No way," answered Teutenberg when asked if winning ever gets old. "Each one is a little different, so you appreciate them all."

Unlike on Tuesday when Teutenberg had to bury herself to make a solo bridge across to the decisive breakaway, this time she was part of the key selection that was initiated by Kristin Armstrong, team leader of the Swiss-based Cervelo-Lifeforce squad and a U.S. Olympic hopeful. Only Teutenberg, Kiesanowski, Van Gilder and Alison Powers (Colavita-Sutter Home) could respond to the 2006 world time trial champion's move, quickly making the race a five-rider affair.

"Kristin went with Ina on her wheel," explain Kiesanowski, who is married to former Tour de France rider Jeff Pierce. "It was clear that was going to be the big break of the day."

What wasn't clear is how to beat Teutenberg. Despite doing the lion's share of the work in the break, the two time Liberty Classic winner had little problem taking the sprint at the end.

"No one was really working that hard in the break so the time came down a lot on the last lap," explained Teutenberg of a gap that was cropped from 60 seconds to just 13 by the finish. "I came into the final straightaway on Alison Power's wheel and then just had a go. It was a bit of an uphill to the finish so it was better to start my sprint from a ways out because there's less of a draft."

Teutenberg's final burst generated a 950 watts reading on her on-bike power meter, a device commonly used by cyclist's to measure their efforts during training and racing.

Once again Teutenberg managed her feat minus the assistance of teammates. The rest of the High Road women are in Quebec contesting the final day of Le Tour du Grand Montreal. Following that race's conclusion, they'll make the trip south to Philadelphia to race Sunday's Liberty Classic. The 56.7-mile event is run on the same circuit as the men's Philadelphia International Championship.

In both cases competition begins and ends on Philadelphia's famed Benjamin Franklin Parkway. In between, the world's fastest women cyclists will scratch and claw their way around four laps of the grueling 14.4-mile circuit that includes the infamous Manayunk Wall, which boasts precipitous grades in excess of 17 percent. At stake in the three-race series is a $27,200 prize purse that includes $5000 for the overall winner - a title Teutenberg looks destined to defend.

Photo courtesy of: Team High Road