Fresh Off A Win, Champion System Eyes Philadelphia Race
The Champion System Pro Cycling Team enters Sunday's TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship brimming with confidence built from Clinton Avery's victory Thursday night at the BaseCamp International race presented by Verizon Wireless.
Avery out-sprinted two breakaway companions – James Stemper (Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling) and Andres Faustine Alzate (Team Exergy) – to earn his first professional victory. It was also the inaugural win in the United States by Asia's first pro continental team.
"It was one of the more dramatic races I've seen in a long time," Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. "Just when it looked like the break was going to get caught, they managed to stay in front."
What had been more than a minute's lead past the halfway point of the 44-lap race around the 1.1-mile course had dwindled to 45 seconds with five laps to go. The Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team, with help from the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team and its defending champion, Robert Förster, cut the lead to 10 seconds at the start of the final lap.
"They came out of the last turn with a five-second advantage heading into the long, straight finish straight," Beamon said. "Clinton opened the sprint as soon as they hit the little rise to the finish, the other guys responded and they kind of drag-raced to the line. The field actually caught the back end of the breakaway at the line."
Beamon said Avery and Champion System teammates Will Clarke and Craig Lewsi will look for potential breakaway opportunities in Sunday's 124-mile race in Philadelphia. Shorter (by 32 miles) than the past 27 editions that once included it serving as the U.S. national pro road championship, the race comprises three opening laps of a 1.5-mile circuit, followed by seven laps of a 14.7-mile course, and five shorter loops near the finish line measuring 3.36 miles each.
"With the new distance and only seven trips up the Manayunk Wall, I'd expect it's going to be more aggressive and a little more favorable for the breakaway," Beamon said. "Guys like Clinton, Will or Craig could be very dangerous in the break. Obviously, Clinton has good form having been second at Estonia (Tallinn-Tartu Grand Prix) last week. We'll look for Matthias Friedemann and Aaron Kemps to be more focused on the finish."
Champion System Pro Cycling Team TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship Roster:
Clinton Avery (NZL), Joris Boillat (SUI), Will Clarke (AUS), Matthias Friedemann (GER), Aaron Kemps (AUS), Craig Lewis (USA) , Mart Ojavee (EST), Adiq Othman (MAL).