Joanne Kiesanowski of Team TIBCO benefited from a strong team performance to earn 2nd place in the prestigious Liberty Classic in Philadelphia Sunday.
The New Zealander was perfectly positioned to join a 12-rider group that slipped off the front the final time up the infamous Manayunk Wall and stayed away until the finish at the end of 90 kilometers of racing.
"During the race, Emma (Rickards), Kat (Carroll) and Meredith (Miller) did a great job of covering moves that went on the flatter portions of the race," Kiesanowski said. "I had responsibility going up the wall, so I was always in the front selection each time up.
"Coming into the last time up the Wall, Columbia-Highroad had it lined up on the front going into the last corner before the climb," the New Zealander said. "At the base of the climb, Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger) put in an attack, but she didn't really get too far because she had five Columbia riders to get around."
However, the increase in pace caused the separation that created the group of 12 riders who contested the finish.
"We really didn't like the composition of the break because Columbia had four riders up there, including Ina (Teutenberg)," Kiesanowski explained.
"I wasn't sure we had the horsepower to chase down the break," team directeur sportif Jeff Corbett added. "Emma, Kat and Meredith had done a lot of work earlier chasing down moves. But if we couldn't bring them back, I wanted to at least keep the pressure on and not let the gap balloon so the Columbia riders couldn't play any games coming into the finish, like sending Mara (Abbott) off solo to take the win, and them still having Ina to sprint for 2nd place."
The efforts paid off, with Columbia unable to set up a lead-out for Teutenberg, leaving their sprinter to freelance the finish. But her three teammates kept the pace sufficiently high that only Amber Neben (Equipe Nürnberger ) tried an attack, but that was quickly neutralized.
"Columbia just kept the pace up, and Ina didn't have to cover anything," Kiesanowski said.
Coming around Logan Circle and into the finishing straight, Kiesanowski went with Alison Powers as the Team Type 1 rider opened up her sprint on the left side. But when she saw Teutenberg powering up the right side, "I jumped over to her wheel and I was able to hold it," she said. "For a minute I thought maybe I could come around her, but she just kept going like a good sprinter does."
Kiesanowski settled for second, but she wasn't too disappointed. "You always want to win," she said, "but this is a big race and it's great to finish on the podium. I was really happy with my sprint. It's nice when I go and the legs respond. It's just hard to beat Ina most days."
Overall, Kiesanowski was happy with how the day went, and not just because she performed well in front of her husband, parents and quite a few friends, who all came out for the race.
"The team had a race plan and we executed it well," she said. "Kat, Meredith and Emma were all great. Kat put in a great attack on the second time up the wall. We had Brooke (Miller) and Lauren (Tamayo) ready for a sprint if it came to that. The team did really well."
Rickards agreed, and not just about the performance in Philly. "I think we showed today and in Montreal last week that even though we were racing against the top teams from Europe, we didn't back down. In Montreal, we really tried to make the race hard and be aggressive. Everything is starting to come together."
This bodes well for Team TIBCO, as it heads straight from Philadelphia to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, which begins this Wednesday. For that race, Kiesanowski, Rickards, Carroll, Tamayo and the Millers will be joined by Amber Rais and Julie Beveridge, both of whom raced with the team at the Grand Tour du Montreal last week.
"We have a very strong eight-rider team for Nature Valley," Kiesanowski said. "It's a fun race. I'm really excited."
Team TIBCO for the Nature Valley Grand Prix
Julie Beveridge, CAN
Katharine Carroll, USA
Joanne Kiesanowski, NZL
Brooke Miller, USA
Meredith Miller, USA
Amber Rais, USA
Emma Rickards, AUS
Lauren Tamayo, USA