Shelley Olds, Claudia Häusler and Chantal Blaak to Tibco-To The Top for 2013
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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Shelley Olds, Claudia Häusler and Chantal Blaak to Tibco-To The Top for 2013

by Ben Atkins at 10:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
US team adds considerable international experience as it expands programme for next year

shelley oldsTeam Tibco-To The Top has announced the signatures of Shelley Olds, Claudia Häusler and Chantal Blaak for next season, as it looks to expand its programme into 2013. The American outfit is looking to become one of the top teams in the World, and the acquisition of a World Cup race winner, a Giro d’Italia winner, and one of the most exciting Dutch talents should go a long way to achieve this.

“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.”

26-year-old German Häusler, joins the team after a relatively quiet year at Orica-AIS, although eighth place in the Giro Donne in July hinted at a return to the form that saw her win the race overall in 2009.

“Claudia is a proven winner in the biggest races in the world,” said Jackson. “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.”

Olds and Blaak both join the team from the folding AA Drink-Leontien.nl team, where Blaak has spent her entire career to date. An overcrowded roster, coupled with a shrinking race calendar has seen Blaak have a quieter season than usual, but she remains one of the most promising Dutch riders, in a nation of big stars.

“Chantal impressed in a lot of races this spring,” said Jackson. “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.”

Olds had her best season to date in 2012, with a victory in the Chongming Island World Cup race followed by her second career Giro Donne stage victory. A heartbreaking puncture in the Olympic road race, while she was part of the winning break, cost her a likely medal, although she managed to finish seventh in the bunch sprint.

“Shelley looked like she had a good shot at a medal in London until her flat,” Jackson explained. “She not only showed her strength but her tactical prowess in jumping on the winning move. Her experience is a key addition.”

With the signing of some of its biggest ever names - and, in Blaak and Häusler, its first Europeans for a number of years - Tibco-To The Top has confirmed its ambition to push its way into the upper echelons of women’s cycling in 2013.

“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 finalise 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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