Wednesday marks the start of the Nature Valley Grand Prix – one of the most important National Racing Calendar events of the season. Team TIBCO heads to Minnesota with a strong eight-rider squad to contest the five-day, six-stage race.
Olympic long team members Megan Guarnier and Amanda Miller are set to go head to head with the sport’s top riders as they target the overall general classification standings. Young rider Lindsay Myers will also aim to make her mark in the GC ranking.
“Megan, Amanda and Lindsay will be our GC riders,” said the Team’s European directeur sportif Angela van Smoorenburg. “With a strong result in Wednesday’s time trial, they can move themselves into good position for the overall.”
Canadian National Champion and Olympic long team member Veronique Fortin will be a crucial asset in the hills. The Team will look to Fortin to push the pace on the extended climbs and rolling hills of Thursday and Saturday’s road races.
Team Captain Meredith Miller brings an abundance of experience to the Team and will offer plenty of support and strategic guidance along the way. Along with Miller, Samantha Schneider and Jennifer Purcell will be a great help in the criteriums and road races. Schneider and Purcell are known for their sprinting prowess, however, they can also do some damage in the road races.
Team TIBCO Junior Alexis Ryan will participate in her first race with the professional team.
“Alexis is still a junior, but she’s shown time and again that she is a strong rider,” said van Smoorenburg. “We want to give her an opportunity to race at the top level and develop as a rider.”
In addition to taking it all in, Ryan will work to help the team wherever possible.
Wednesday will kick off the Nature Valley Grand Prix with two stages: a 7.7-mile individual time trial along Mississippi River Boulevard in the morning, and the St. Paul Downtown criterium in the evening.
On Thursday, the riders head out for the 74-mile Canyon Falls Road Race as they wind through Goodhue County before finishing on a circuit in downtown Cannon Falls.
Friday features another technical criterium, followed by Saturday’s 76-mile Menomonie Road Race. Sunday’s Stillwater criterium will be the final stage of the Grand Prix; its steep Chilkoot Hill climb and technical descent are what give this criterium its reputation as one of the hardest in North America.