Canola Climbs to Third at Philadelphia International Cycling Classic
Marco Canola sprinted to third place at the Philadelphia International CyclingClassic this past weekend. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team rider benefited from a huge amount of teamwork throughout the day, with the Blue Train controlling the race in an exciting finale. The “Philly Classic,” as fans have come to know the UCI 1.1 Event, is one of the biggest one-day races of the year in the United States, with tens of thousands of spectators lining up along the Manayunk Wall to watch the action amongst teams from all over the globe.
Canola’s teammate Danny Summerhill was given the unenviable task of making the breakaway for the day. The tactic of getting a rider into the break ensured the team was represented at the front, and could avoid doing too much work in the pack. The move was successful, staying away for seven of the nine laps on a hilly suburban route through Philadelphia.
As the pace heated up with two laps to go, the break was slowly reeled back to the pack. Brad White took the opportunity to bridge across to the break, giving the move new life and helping the group stay away for another lap. Back in the pack, theUnitedHealthcare Blue Train began to assemble around Marco Canola, whose punchy style had already been identified as the best tool for the course and brutal finishing pitch. John Murphy, known as a fast finisher on the flat, was recruited to the leadout train and pulled the pack into the final lap at a relentless pace. While a solo move from Rally rider Danny Pate went briefly clear, the team did not panic, and delivered Canola to the bottom of the final climb in great position. The Manayunk Wall proved as decisive as ever, and Canola blew by the majority of the field, only to be passed by two riders close to the end. Coming across the line mere bike lengths behind winner Eduard Prades, the gutsy ride from Canola was worthy of a podium.
Mike Tamayo had a front line view of the racing, and liked what he saw, “The fans in Philly are so passionate. Danny’s move in the break gave us great representation all day, and it turned out to be a solid day of racing.”
The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team raced later in the day, as heavy storm clouds swirled and threatened. The furious pace of the 6-lap, 118-kilometer race jettisoned many of the riders in the first 5 laps, while the women in blue and white matched acceleration after acceleration to stay in contention. TheUnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team raced hard and smart, covering attacks and contributing to pace-setting with the other podium-focused squads. After a hard-fought race, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team came just short of a top-10 performance, with Coryn Rivera and Katie Hall finishing 13th and 14th, respectively.
Meanwhile, a few states away, sprinter, leadout specialist, and track star Cari Higgins was racing solo at the Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic, a three-day criterium series across the Midtown, Film Row, and Automobile Alley districts of the greater Oklahoma City area. With her teammates taking on the Women’s WorldTour event in Philadelphia, Cari was on her own to navigate the top-notch criterium field, but was still able to deliver a podium performance in Friday’s race to represent her sponsors and teammates, taking 3rd in a heated sprint finish.