In 2010, the Tour of Flanders World Cup was Team TIBCO/To the Top’s initiation into European racing. “It’s a hard race to get your feet wet in,” said Team TIBCO’s European race director, Chris Georgas. “Last year, the girls raced really well. They learned a lot about how to race that day.”
For the 2011 edition, which rolls Sunday, the team comes in with more experience, plus one World Cup under their belt, having done Trofeo Alfredo Binda last weekend.
“The Team is ready for Flanders,” Georgas said. “It’s a classic race with a bit of everything – hills, tricky town streets, cobbles and often an exciting sprint finish.”
The Team had a good showing at Binda last weekend, with Megan Guarnier making the front group near the end until she was taken out in a crash. Luckily, she only sustained minor injuries. “Megan is flying right now,” Georgas notes.
The Team will also have a healthy Emma Mackie and Serena Sheridan, and “Joelle (Numainville) is getting her race legs back,” Georgas said. Binda was her first race of the season. Kendall Ryan will also take the start line tomorrow.
But two new people will join the team for Flanders, and their experience may prove decisive for Team TIBCO. Joanne Kiesanowski joins the team fresh of a solid performance at the UCI Track World Championships last weekend. Kiesanowski’s ability to get over the punchy climbs and also sprint among some of the best in the world make her well suited for this cobbled classic.
“I’m very excited to be joining my TIBCO teammates finally this weekend,” Kiesanowski said. “And Flanders is a fantastic race to get my road season going.”
Joining Georgas in directing the Team will be new European Directeur Sportif Angela van Smoorenburg. The Dutchwoman, who rode professionally during the 1990s and has been directing teams in Europe for much of the past decade, is quite familiar with Flanders and brings a wealth of race and directing experience to the team.
“With the addition of Jo as a guiding force, the girls will make their presence felt on Sunday,” Georgas said. “On top of all that, we have the advantage of Angela's long experience as a director in Belgian and Dutch races.”
Team TIBCO/To the Top for the Ronde von Vlaanderen
Megan Guarnier, USA
Joanne Kiesanowski, NZL
Emma Mackie, AUS
Joelle Numainville, CAN
Kendall Ryan, USA
Serena Sheridan, NZL