Pescadero, CA – Team TIBCO/To the Top is set to race its first European tour of the season this week as the riders make their way to Holland for the Drenthe races.
A six-rider squad will include Team TIBCO Olympic long team members Megan Guarnier and Amanda Miller. For Team TIBCO riders Lauren Hall, Jennifer Purcell and Jennifer Wheeler, this will be their first foray into European racing. They are sure to receive plenty of support from their more experienced teammates Guarnier, Miller and Samantha Schneider. Guarnier has proven she’s ready to compete, having secured 5th place last week in one of Belgium’s biggest spring races, the GP Samyn.
“Megan has already gotten off to a great start,” said Team TIBCO founder and manager Linda Jackson. “These first races will be important to her and Amanda’s Olympic ambitions, and to establish the Team as one to contend with in Europe.”
The first of three races will take place Thursday March 8. Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo is classified as a UCI 1.1 race – the highest category for one-day races. Team TIBCO expects to exhibit the organization and tenacity it is known for as the riders race alongside some of the biggest names in women’s cycling, including World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, 2011 Giro d’Italia winner Marianne Vos, and 2008 Olympic Road Champion Nicole Cooke. The group of 180 cyclists will ride three laps over the classic red brick and cobbled roads of the Netherlands, totaling 141.2 kilometers.
“We’ve brought over the best equipment for these races so the riders will race comfortably over the cobbled Dutch roads,” said Team TIBCO’s European Directeur Sportif, Angela van Smoorenburg. “These will be our first European races as a team on the new SRAM-equipped Specialized Amira SL4s and Reynolds wheels.”
On Saturday March 10, the riders head to Hoogeveen for the Ronde van Drenthe World Cup. The 140-kilometer race will feature long cobbled sections, small and large roads, and a punchy 300-meter climb of 20 percent grade that must be traversed four times. The challenging course will likely be matched with rainy riding conditions and is sure to be one of the most spectacular races of the year.
“These are hard races, but there will be plenty of opportunities for the team,” said van Smoorenberg. “Team TIBCO has a good mix of fast finishers and riders who can be in a breakaway, yet still be fast at the finish line.”
The last race of the week will be held in Coevorden on Sunday March 11. The 1.1 UCI-ranked Novilon Cup will depart from the cobbled roads and send the riders out into the open countryside for 130 kilometers. Though the pavement will be smooth, the typical Dutch weather of the area will likely be rough on riders, leaving them exposed to the elements of rain and wind.
“The team goals are clear: Ride offensively, get into a breakaway, and if the race ends up in a bunch sprint, ride as a team and set a teammate up in good position for the final sprint,” said van Smoorenberg. “All of our riders are fully motivated to show the European peloton their strength.”
For more information on the races, visit http://www.rondevandrenthe.nl/