Sunday, June 03, 2012

WN Fast Freddie Rodriguez (Team Exergy) on the podium!

The only returning champion at the 2012 Philly Challenge, Freddie Rodriguez entered this American classic as one of the hot favorites. The 3 time US champion is enjoying his best form in recent years, and his experience on the streets of Philadelphia marked him as a man to watch.

The distance was shortened from previous editions, and for the first time in its existence the race would not cover a full 250km. Although 200km would seem like plenty of time to accomplish objectives, the truncated event caused uncertainty amongst the sprinter squads. The result was a fast and aggressive start in which all teams looked to be in the day's breakaway.

At the end of lap 2 a group of 45 riders forged a 1 minute advantage. The strong selection seemed certain to succeed, but it never displayed the cohesion necessary to completely ride away from the main peloton.

After 130km a break of 5 riders earned some real space. Among them were Andres Diaz, Tomas Rabou of, and Clinton Avory of Champion Systems, the winner of last Thursday's Base Camp Invitational.

The last 2 trips up the famed Manayunk Wall trimmed the group to these 3 men, and with the help of a short-lived thunderstorm, the trio enjoyed a 2min advantage with 25km to go.

The tenuous lead gave hope, but each lap of the short finishing circuits saw the charging peloton gain time. With one lap to go and the lead down to 20sec, Diaz attacked his companions and made a bid for solo victory. Alas, the peloton played it perfectly and for the second straight year our man was caught with 2km to go.

The hard chase decimated the field, leaving Freddie, Logan Loader and Carlos Alzate an opportunity to take the day. The threesome fought their way into position and Freddie nearly took the day, slicing through the center of the sprint to finish 3rd behind Alexander Serebryakov and Aldo Ilesic of Team Type 1.

Fred Rodriguez (Team Exergy), the Philadelphia race's 2001 champion and only former winner to start today, finished in third place in the sprint finale to round out the podium.

Nice job by the 2001 champ. To think that he is in the mix at 38 years young!

Congrats Freddie!

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