Reigning US National Champion Brooke Miller had a breakthrough performance at Philadelphia's Liberty Classic last year when she out-kicked world-class sprinter Ina-Yoko Teutenberg in a pack sprint for second place. On Sunday, June 7, Miller and her TIBCO teammates are prepared to battle to the end for a top spot on the podium at the most esteemed women's event in America.
"It's one race that we are very focused on," said Miller who went on to capture double national championship victories in the road race and the criterium last year. "There is such a great field this year but our team is riding better and better It's fun to watch how well we have been stepping up compared to the European teams. We have a lot of riders who can win this race from a breakaway. I'm plan B and my job is to win the bunch sprint."
Last year Teutenberg's teammate Chantal Beltman stole the victory in a solo breakaway. Should the peloton arrive at a bunch sprint this year, Miller will be up against the fastest sprinters in the world including Teutenberg and Kate Bates (Columbia-Highroad) as well as former world champion Regina Schleicher and Suzanne de Goede (Neurnberger-Versicherung). Formidable domestic sprinters looking for a sprint victory include Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home), Gina Grain (Webcor Builders), Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci-Breakaway), Jen McRae (Team Type 1) and Laura Van Gilder (Jittery Joe's).
"I feel really good with my legs and it is a fun situation for me,"Miller said. " I'm in a good situation because the other sprinters have already established themselves as the best in the world. I'm confident but the burden is on them to beat me and not the other way around. They race against each other all the time, an advantage, but that also means they don't know my fitness. It's a double-edged sword."
TIBCO riders registered to compete in the Liberty Classic include Miller, Lauren Tamayo, Joanne Kiesanowski, Emma Richards, Julie Beveridge, Amber Rais, Katharine Carroll and Meredith Miller. "When push comes to shove, our girls push back hard. As strong as all our individual riders are, it's all about how well we work together. Our girls sacrifice themselves for a team win. We don't hold back, we execute a game plan without hesitation.