Team TIBCO’s Kiwi rookie Serena Sheridan earned her first European victory by taking the Grand Prix Mairie d'Armissan Sunday in Narboone France. The race was a 90 km open competition format, so it also included men in the field. The race covered seven laps of a hilly, technical 13 km circuit, with a 2km climb every lap. Sheridan was the first woman in the field to cross the line.
“I was very happy with my performance, the 25-year-old Kiwi said, “especially considering that only two days ago, I had been stuck in a plane or airport for over 52 hours and I’m suffering from a complete 12-hour change in time zones.”
Closer to home, Alison Powers returned to Colorado following Team training camp and put her early-season fitness to the test at the Frostbite Time Trial. She powered over the mostly flat 11.4-mile course in 26:36.
“I’m always glad to be here for this time trial,” Powers said. “It’s a good test of fitness, a chance to look at the numbers, and see how the training is coming along.”
Team TIBCO trio leaves MERCO with solid results and great training.
The Team TIBCO/To the Top trio of Carmen Small, Meghan Guarnier and Kendall Ryan went into the MERCO Cycling Classic looking for four good, hard days of race training. They left with some good results, topped by Small’s 7th overall – and accolades for their aggressive riding style.
“All three girls raced really well and earned a lot of praise from everyone for their efforts,” said Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt.
The race opened with the 58-mile Merced Irrigation District Road Race. The first stage was defined by a long, mostly solo break by Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad), which lasted more than three of the 4.5 laps of the race. Teutenberg was finally caught on the final lap by a much-diminished peloton, which still contained Guarnier and Small.
The race came down to an uphill battle fought out by less than 20 riders. Guarnier fought hard for a well-earned 4th place, 0:12 behind former teammate Amanda Miller (HTC-Highroad). Small came in with a small group another 0:20 later, posting a solid 9th place.
Friday’s 12-mile individual time trial would define the overall competition, with another Team TIBCO alum, Alison Starnes, taking a convincing win. Using her road bike, Small rode a solid time trial, coming 12th at 2:34 behind Starnes. The effort was good enough to move her up two places to 7th overall.
When the field left the start line for Saturday’s 40-lap Downtown Grand Prix, the Team TIBCO trio wasted little time in lighting up the race.
“We wanted to be aggressive and try to get a break up the road to see if it would stick,” Hunt said. “At the least, we wanted a good hard race and to make Peanut Butter work.”
The HTC-Highroad trio had a similar goal, and after numerous attacks, Guarnier finally got off the front with Miller and Lindsay Myers (Chico Corsa). It took half the race for the break to finally be brought back.
Despite several attacks, the field stayed together the final few laps, setting up a bunch sprint. Small and Ryan took advantage of their teammate’s efforts to set up for the finish sprint, with Ryan posting 8th place, and Small close behind her in 12th. Teutenberg, one of the finest sprinters in history, added another bunch kick win to her deep palmares.
The final-stage Almond Blossom Road Race set up in much the same way as Saturday’s criterium, with a very aggressive approach from the Team TIBCO trio, with some help from HTC-Highroad.
This time, it was Team TIBCO’s 18-year-old Ryan getting in the day’s main break. The move got out to 0:45 but Peanut Butter & Company get it on a pretty short leash despite the group not containing anyone who was a threat to Starnes’ overall lead.
But once again, things came back together for sprint finish, with the same outcome as Saturday’s criterium – Teutenberg taking her second consecutive win. Small and Guarnier both set themselves up well for the sprint and were able to maintain their 7th and 12 overall positions respectively.
“All three girls rode really hard this weekend,” Hunt added. “It was great training, and I think it’s going to pay off with results longer-term.”
Their nest tests will come later this month at the San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Classic.