As Team TIBCO-To the Top approaches its eighth year in the professional peloton, the US-based, UCI-registered women's team will expand its program for 2013, with an eye toward becoming one of the top teams in the world. The team is adding three riders to the roster who bring experience and success at the highest level of international racing.
Those three new riders are American Shelley Olds and Dutchwoman Chantal Blaak, who both rode for the Dutch AA Drink-Leontien team this year, plus German Claudia Häusler, who comes to the team from the Orica-AIS squad. Häusler and Olds both represented their countries in the most recent world championship road race.
"The first year we went to Europe in 2010, it was to gain experience riding at the top level of professional cycling," said Team TIBCO Founder and General Manager Linda Jackson. "The past two years we've built on that and have gone to Europe to make an impact and win races. For 2013, we want to keep building on our success, and these new signings will help us get there."
Olds has been one of the top American riders for the past few seasons. She was a key part of the U.S. Olympic Road Race team in London this year, making the winning break of four riders with 50km to go. A flat that took her out of contention with 30km to go has already motivated her to make a strong push toward the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
"Shelley looked like she had a good shot at a medal in London until her flat," Jackson said. "She not only showed her strength but her tactical prowess in jumping on the winning move. Her experience is a key addition."
Despite the disappointment in London, she still had a successful season, earning the victory in the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in China as well as a stage win at the women's Giro d'Italia. She is a past U.S. Criterium National Champion and two-time U.S. Track champion in the scratch race.
Blaak is a rising international star. She was able to earn solid results in 2012, including 2nd place in this year's Ronde van Gelderland, while often racing in support of teammates such as Kirsten Wild and Olympic silver medalist Lizzie Armitstead, as well as Olds.
"Chantal impressed in a lot of races this spring," Jackson said. "She has shown an ability to get good results, and at just 22 years old, she's still developing as a rider. She's going to be one to look out for in the next couple years."
"Claudia is a proven winner in the biggest races in the world," Jackson said. "She has won both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de l'Aude, and her ability and confidence are tremendous assets for the team overall.
"We're excited to be adding so much talent in these three riders for 2013," Jackson added. "We will be announcing more signings in the coming weeks as we finalize our roster. The addition of these riders along side our team leaders Jo Kiesanowski and Meredith Miller should lead to great season in 2013."
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