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  The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic Preview  
  The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic returns to the Women's World Cup calendar after previously being on the calendar for the opening four years of the competition. In the past it has been a race for the sprinters but by moving the finish to the top of the Manayunk Wall it is not anything but. The sixth round of the season long World Cup series and the last for nearly two months. With the race returning to the World Cup calendar the majority of the top women's team are here. The field is headlines by two time defending champion Evelyn Stevens who brings her strong Boels Dolmans squad. Wiggle Honda, Velocio-SRAM, Bigla and Hitec are also here.

2014 Results

1 Evelyn STEVENS
3 Lauren HALL +0
5 Flavia OLIVEIRA +0
6 Lizzie WILLIAMS +0
7 Mara ABBOTT +0
8 Sharon LAWS +0
10 Mandy HEINTZ +0

Past Winners

2014 - Evelyn Stevens
2013 - Evelyn Stevens

The Route

Six laps of a 19.8 kilometre circuit that starts and finishes at the top of the famous Manayunk Wall. The Manayunk Wall climb is approximately 800 metres at an average gradient of around eight percent. But as if often the case that is deceptive, with it reaching over 15% towards the middle of the climb.

The Contenders

Start list available here

Evelyn Stevens and Boels Dolmans

Stevens has won the race the past two years and despite the stronger field she still heads in as the favourite especially when you look at the team she has with her. The finish up the Manayunk suits her and has shown to be one of the best on these sorts of finishes. As usual when you look at Boels Dolmans this year they have many cards to play and the power to control the race.

On home soil Stevens will want to put in a strong performance by countrywoman Megan Guarnier is another big stand out and will wear the stars and stripes of US National Champion. Second at the Tour of New Zealand and a very impressive solo win at Strade Bianche plus third at La Fleche Wallonne. Very strong on the climbs and the finish suits her well. With the team they have don't be surprised to see her on the attack and a similar situation to what happened at Strade Bianche play out.

Lizzie Armitstead is another who has proven the short steep climbs suit her in recent years. Has not seemed her absolute best this year and her increased speed in the sprint might have cost her a little something on the climbs. Five wins this year including the recent Boels Rental Hills Classic.

Alena Amialiusik

If you are looking for the in form rider it is Alena Amialiusik of Velocio-SRAM. Made the move to the formerly US squad over the off season and has been consistent throughout. Fifth Trofeo Alfredo Binda, sixth Ronde van Vlaanderen and seventh Strade Bianche World Cups. Has three wins to her name this year including a stage and the overall at Gracia Orlova and the Winston Salem Cycling Classic last weekend. Very strong on the shorter steep climbs and her fourth place finish last year shows just what she can do. It might be a stronger field but Amialiusik is racing better than ever and one of the podium steps is well within reach.

Teammates Tiffany Cromwell and Karol-Ann Canuel are other cards the team have to play potentially from a longer attack or to lead Amialiusik in to the final climb.

Elisa Longo Borghini and Mara Abbott

After a busy off season recruiting some of the biggest names in the sport Wiggle Honda has been winning left right and centre this year. They have already won three of the five World Cup rounds so far and adding a fourth here is certainly not out of the question. In Elisa Longo Borghini and Mara Abbott they have two very strong climbers. Abbott was fourth last year but would be stronger on a longer climb so expect to see Longo Borghini get team support. Longo Borghini was on good form last week finishing fifth at Boels Rental Hills Classic and only time will tell how she has handled the trip across to America.

Lex Albrecht

Albrecht knows what it takes to perform and podium here, second behind Stevens last year and sixth the previous year. While the stronger field is a disadvantage her experience in the finish could more than make up for that. Knowing when to make a move and who to follow would be crucial to success. Repeating her podium performance will not be easy but don't discount her.

Lauren Hall

Hall rounded out the podium last year and has been consistent this year and picked up a couple of stage wins at the Tour of New Zealand in February. With the strength in the field this year it will be much harder to repeat that performance.


Bigla is still chasing a win in 2015 despite a number of very close finishes. They might not be the strongest squad in the race but they have a number of riders who have performed well here in the past. Joëlle Numainville finished second in 2013 when Shelley Olds was fourth and Sharon Laws finished eighth last year. The experience of those three riders will be important and with their strength in numbers they are well positioned to fight for a podium.

Joanne Kiesanowski

Kiesanowski is an outsider to keep an eye on. While winning is probably out of the question another top 10 finish is well within her. After finishing ninth last year and 13th in 2013 Kiesanowski knows the climb well. Her Tibco squad will be looking for a strong result and with support from Lauren Stephens, Kristabel Doebel-Hickok they could find themselves in the top 10.

Other names to watch: Eujenia Bujak, Miranda Griffiths, Linda Villumsen, Katie Hall, Dalia Muccioli, Amanda Miller and Jessica Cutler.
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