Team TIBCO charges ahead as they prepare for more Dutch racing in eastern Netherlands this Sunday. Photo by Larry Rosa.
Team TIBCO returns to Holland for the final round of Dutch racing this Sunday in the Ronde van Gelderland. The one-day race is classified as a 1.2 UCI event, and starts in Apeldoorn in the eastern region of the Netherlands at 2 p.m.
After a strong performance at Energiewacht Tour last week, the Team’s six-rider squad will again go head to head with the top athletes in the women’s peloton. Olympic long team members Megan Guarnier and Amanda Miller will be joined by all-rounder Jennifer Wheeler and sprinters Samantha Schneider, Jennifer Purcell and 2011 Madison National Track Champion Lauren Hall.
The 140-kilometer course is typified by narrow roads, several tight turns and a series of six climbs. The Team TIBCO women have pre-ridden the course and come prepared to contest the race.
“The Team is in high spirits and in this final race in the Netherlands, they will show once more their progression here in Europe,” said Team TIBCO European directeur sportif Angela van Smoorenburg. “In this race, you need all the skills of cycling.”
With nearly 200 riders expected to challenge the race, the Team will need to jockey for position within the pack to maintain good positioning throughout the day. Over the course of the Team’s stay in Europe, the riders have honed their ability to race on the windy, flat roads that characterize the region. Hills, on the other hand, have never been a problem. Team TIBCO will use the hilly portion of Sunday’s course to their advantage as they push the pace to split up the field.
Thirty kilometers into the race, the hills will begin. The riders will take on six climbs, one after the other, within 25 kilometers. The final climb will be the famed Posbank in the town of Arnhem, stretching 2200 meters at a gradient of 3 to 6 percent. After the hills, the race will head back toward Apeldoorn, leaving the forests behind and rolling onto narrow roads in an open landscape. Turbulent weather conditions, like strong wind gusts, could play a determining role during this portion of the race and break up the field.
“After the hills, we’ll have to see what happens in the peloton,” said van Smoorenburg. “If the group is still in tact, we will try to set up a breakaway.”
The Team will also be prepared to contest a bunch sprint, with riders Schneider, Hall and Purcell capable of delivering a fierce sprint.
After Gelderland, the Team will travel to Belgium for Flèche Wallone next Wednesday.