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Tara Whitten (Canada) celebrates her gold medal in the Commonwealth Games time trial.
Canadian among five new signings for 2011
North American women’s team Tibco-To The Top has named five new signings for 2011 including Canada’s Tara Whitten who yesterday claimed victory at the Commonwealth Games’ elite women’s time trial. Whitten is joined by Joelle Numainville, Alison Powers, Carlee Taylor and Erinne Willock as the new signings at Tibco.
Tibco director Linda Jackson praised Whitten on her all-round ability when announcing the new signings. Whitten will be allowed the chance to focus on the UCI Track World Championships before changing focus to her road duties with the squad next season.
“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,” said Jackson. “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 hopes having experienced riders like Powers and Meredith Miller, who will remain with the squad next year, will younger riders like 21-year-old Taylor to develop next season. While young Taylor has some experience under her belt having competed in Europe with the Australian national team this year, where she won a stage of Tour Feminin en Limousin.
“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.”
Jackson admitted the signing of Whitten, Willock and Numainville is indicative of her desire to support upcoming Canadian riders. But the former rider was quick to point out that her squad still has an international flavour.
“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.
“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,” she added. “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.”
Existing riders from the team that will return for next year include Miller, Megan Guarnier, Joanne Kiesanowski, Emma Mackie and Samantha Schneider.