After more than six hours of racing on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon, the 26th TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship came down to a sprint to the finish line.
It was anybody's race, and anybody turned out to be Matthew Goss of Australia and the HTC-Columbia team.
It was Goss' third attempt at winning the 156-mile classic, and he won this one in 6 hours, 15 minutes, 46 seconds.
The victory made it the second year in a row that HTC-Columbia won both the men's and women's races. Ina Teutenberg of Germany and HTC-Columbia won the women's Liberty Classic.
In the men's race, Slovak Peter Sagan of the Liquigas-Doimo team came in second and Norway's Alexander Kristoff of the BMC Racing team was third. All three leaders finished with the same time.
No fewer than 33 other riders were vying with Goss in a desperate sprint at the end. Gov. Rendell and Mayor Nutter were among the race enthusiasts who cheered as the lead group dashed down the final stretch.
"I was in good position coming out of [Logan Circle]," said Goss, who received a winner's share of $13,500 of the $51,690 prize money. "I made my move with 180, 200 meters to go."
More than 200 riders participated in the men's race, but only 67 were listed in the final results. Australia's Nathan O'Neil had the lead with nine laps to go on a course that started and ended on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and ran along Kelly Drive, through Manayunk, up the famous Manayunk Wall and back through Fairmount Park.
With five laps remaining, Will Routley of Canada was setting the pace. At one point, he had a lead of 1:30 on his closest rival. But, on his last trip up the Wall in Manayunk, Routley struggled, and the pack caught up.
That was when Goss' teammates on HTC-Columbia helped push him to the front.
"Coming off the Wall behind the first group, it wasn't the best situation," Goss said. "But, it's a long way to go from the top of the Wall, so I kind of knew [the leaders] would come back. We missed some big breaks every time and had to do a lot of work at the end. It's nice to come out with the win."
Episcopal Academy graduate Tyler Wren was 42d in 6:28.06.
While Goss won the men's event for the first time, Teutenberg captured her fourth title in the 16th women's Liberty Classic. Her time of 2:31:39 in the 57.6-mile race put her on top of a field of 120 competitors that was the race's largest ever.
Erinne Willock of Canada and Webcor Builders, who had the lead at the beginning of the bell lap, finished 46th in 2:33:04.
It was the second straight year that Teutenberg earned the women's crown, which she also claimed in 2007 and 2005. This year, a group of 22 riders was packed together near the end. In the final stretch, Teutenberg beat out Shelly Evans of the Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty12 team, who was attempting to become the first American to win the Liberty Classic.
"Out of [Logan Circle on the final lap], Shelly jumped a little early, and she was flying," said Teutenberg, who received $2,210. "I was able to get back on top of it. It was a great race."
Evans agreed with Teutenberg's assessment.
"I took off too soon," said Evans, who finished with the same time as the winner. "I saw myself winning, and then she came up on the side of me. It was a big disappointment."
American Theresa Cliff-Ryan of Colavita-Baci was third in the same time as Teutenberg and Evans.
1. Matthew Harley Goss, HTC-Columbia 6:15:46
2. Peter Sagan, Liquigas-Doimo same time
3. Alexander Kristoff, BMC same
4. Alejandro A. Borrjo, Jamis-Sutter Home same
5. Vidal Celis, Footon-Servetto-Fuji same
6. Guillaume Boivin, Spidtch pb Plt Energy same
7. Martin Gilbert, Spidrtch pb Planet Enrgy same
8. David Vitoria, Footon-Servetto-Fuji same
9. Javier M. Leal, Team Type 1 same
10. Shawn Milne, Team Type 1 same
1. Ina Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia 2:31:39
2. Shelly Evans, Pnt Bttr & C. Twnty12 same time
3. Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Clvta/Bci Pro Cyclng same
4. Brooke Miller, TIBCO - To The Top same
5. Trixi Worrack, Norris Cycling Team same
6. Joelle Numainville, Webcor Builders same
7. Ruth Corset, TIBCO - To The Top same
8. Carla Swart, Team Vera Bradley Found. same
9. Joanne Kiesanowski, TIBCO - To Th Top same
10. Anna McLoon, Team Kenda same