Posted by Editoress on 10/13/10
Team TIBCO/To the Top will return a strong core of riders from its 2010 squad to go with a talented new cast of established and rising stars as it heads toward the team's second year as a UCI squad.
Leading the new group will be Canadian Tara Whitten, who won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games individual time trial earlier today. A former elite skier, Whitten began racing in 2006 and has quickly risen to the top level of international cycling. Earlier this year, she won both omnium and points gold medals at the Track World Championships. She is also a two-time Canadian National Track Champion.
"Tara is an immense talent who is still so new to the sport that she hasn't even begun to reach her potential as a road racer," Team TIBCO Founder and Director Linda Jackson said of the 30-year-old from Edmonton. "The fact that she won the time trial and also finished 7th in the road race - after picking up three bronze medals on the track earlier in the Games - is a testament to her all-around ability and determination."
Whitten will focus her attention next spring on the track with an eye toward defending her World Championships, before joining Team TIBCO on the road for summer races. Whitten won the challenging final stage of the 2010 Cascade Classic and finished sixth overall.
Whitten will be joined on Team TIBCO by two fellow Canadians, Joelle Numainville and Erinne Willock. Numainville, who took sixth in the Commonwealth Games road race, will turn 23 next month. Despite her young age, the Quebecois has plenty of experience, racing for two years with French squad ESGL 93 before coming back to North America to race for Webcor Builders with Willock.
Numainville brings exceptional speed to the squad, while Willock, who hails from Victoria, BC, brings strong all-around ability that will boost the team's prospects for stage races. She finished third overall at the Cascade Classic this year after winning the individual time trial, and posted a stage win at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. She was part of the 2010 Canadian World Championship road team, along with Numainville and Whitten, and finished seventh in the 2009 Worlds road race. She was a 2008 Olympian as well.
"Joelle is another rider who is developing into a top-flight international rider, while Erinne has been a consistently strong rider for most of the past decade," Jackson said. "They both bring great experience to Team TIBCO."
Adding to that experience will be American star Alison Powers. Like Whitten, Powers is a recent convert from skiing, starting her road racing career in 2007. Since then, she's lived up to her last name, winning the 2008 national time trial championship and gold in the TT at the Pan Am Games. She was also the 2009 NRC individual championship and Women's Prestige Cycling Series title. In 2010, the 31-year-old finished 2nd in the NRC.
"It's hard to believe Alison has only just completed her fourth season at the elite level," Jackson said. "She's been a fixture at the top of the results the past few years, and having her abilities and leadership will be a great asset to the team in 2011."
Rounding out the new signings is another up and coming rider, 21-year-old Australian Carlee Taylor. The young all-arounder spent much of 2010 racing for the Australian National Team, delivering a stage win in the Tour Feminin en Limousin while helping teammate and Team TIBCO member Ruth Corset to second overall, and serving as a strong domestique for Corset at the Tour de Ardeche, helping her to 3rd overall.
"Carlee is yet another of the young crop of riders who is getting tremendous international experience early on," Jackson said. "She will definitely benefit from the presence of her new, more experienced teammates like Powers and Willock, as well as Meredith Miller."
With the addition of Whitten, Willock and Numainville, Team TIBCO will take on a distinctly Canadian accent for 2011, and Jackson points out that this is quite intentional.
"I'm Canadian and a former Canadian Olympian, and I want to be able to support Canadian cycling a bit more," she said. "I want to be able to provide Canadian cyclists with more opportunities than I had when I was starting out."
Jackson is quick to point out that the team is also focused on developing U.S. talent. "We still have a strong core group of American riders on the UCI team, and the Team TIBCO Junior Team is comprised entirely of U.S. women, and we intend to keep it that way. Above all, we want to make sure that young North American cyclists have the opportunity to grow and race at the top level internationally, with an eye toward the 2012 and even 2016 Olympics, and other major competitions like the World Championships. We think the 2011 roster is a good step, and we're looking to add a couple more riders before we're done to bolster our sprinting and climbing depth to go along with our new and returning riders."
Core Group Returning
Team Captain Meredith Miller leads the returning group of Team TIBCO riders. The 2009 U.S. Road Race Champion finished off another exceptional season, proving over and over again that she is the consummate team player. She is also showing her strength already in her third season racing cyclocross with recent wins and podium appearances at U.S. races.
Miller is joined by the Team TIBCO's most consistent all-around rider, Joanne Kiesanowski, who showed yet again in 2010 that she can deliver results in almost any type of race. Also returning is Megan Guarnier, who continued her growth at the elite level with strong riding during the team's spring European tour, while earning wins closer to home at races like the Tour de Nez.
Super domestique Emma Mackie returns for 2011 to continue her selfless and tireless work on behalf of her teammates. Rounding out the returning group is two-time U23 national criterium champion Samantha Schneider.
"Sam took some big steps in 2010, including scoring her first NRC victory to close the season at Chris Thater," Jackson said. "She benefitted greatly from working with Brooke Miller this year, and with Brooke's retirement, Sam will become one of the team's primary sprinters. She has a lot of poise for a 20-year-old and we're confident she'll be able to step up in 2011."
Team TIBCO/To the Top New Riders for 2011:
Team TIBCO/To the Top Returning Riders for 2011:
Megan Guarnier, USA
Joanne Kiesanowski, NZL
Emma Mackie, AUS
Meredith Miller, USA
Samantha Schneider, USA
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