By Kirsten Robbins
Tibco Women's Professional Cycling Team has its sights set on becoming a UCI registered team in 2010, focused on competing overseas on the World Cup circuit and some of Europe's most well-known stage races.
"We have to be at bigger races in Europe," said team owner Linda Jackson. "In 2010 our finances will be spent on becoming a UCI team and going to Europe. As the riders progress, the team has to progress, too. We want to bump up the team. We've had this plan for four years."
Tibco began to put a mark on the American peloton in 2004 when Jackson, a former Canadian national champion, took over what was the California-based Palo Alto team. According to Jackson, she originally wanted to provide her athletes with an environment that would help them reach their competitive goals. However, she was not satisfied with being a regional level team.
"My goal was to get the girls to the place they need to be in order to reach their ultimate performances," said Jackson who brought the team up to a national level in 2008. "For 2009 our finances have been spent on building the roster and adding Jeff Corbett to our staff. Next year our focus will be on expanding our racing calendar internationally."
The Tibco team roster includes 10 returning riders comprised of US national road and criterium champion Brooke Miller, Alison Rosenthal, Lauren Franges, Rushlee Buchanan, Amber Rais, Alison Starnes, Jerika Hutchenson, Joanne Keisanowski, Victoria Bastide and Stacey Simms. Four recently hired top-notch talents include former Cervélo Life-Force rider Emma Rickards and three former Aaron's riders Katharine Carroll, Julie Beveridge and Meredith Miller.
"I am so excited about everyone on the roster," said Jackson who decided to use a large portion of the team budget on strengthening the roster. "We have a team chock full of talent. Finally, we will have a lot of different cards to play in the races as well as being able to develop our young riders. We have a lot of US national team riders and they need to work together and that will be beneficial for when they go over to Europe with the US national team and compete in events like the World-Cups, World Championships, national team projects and the Olympic Games."
The 14-woman roster will gather for their first training camp before the Tour of California women's criterium in San Francisco. The main training camp will be held in Santa Barbara in March one week prior to the Redlands Classic. The squad will focus on the NRC events beginning in January at the Tour of California women's criterium. The squad's '09 focus will be on races that include Redlands Classic, Mt. Hood, Montreal World-Cup and Tour of Montreal, Cascade Classic, Nature Valley along with Philadelphia's Liberty Classic.
"Even though we have Brooke Miller, I feel that we are a stage racing team," Jackson continued. "We are really excited to have like a GC rider like Julie Beveridge, a major talent, and I'm so happy to work with her."
Tibco will maintain the title sponsorship placement on the jersey and will be joined by Silicon Valley Bank and One Equity Partners as the primary financial support. "We are happy to have our sponsors back on board with the addition of One Equity Partners," Jackson said. "They are a company full of athletes. They have 10 World Championship and Olympic Games gold medals among the partners. None in cycling – yet!"
The team's equipment sponsors include Look bikes, SRAM components, Ritchey Logic, HED wheels, Challenge tires, 2XU casual and compression clothing, Specialized shoes, Squadra clothing, Selle San Marco saddles, SciCon bike bags, Rudy Project eye wear, Clif Shot nutritional products, Fitness 101 and Kurt Kinetics.