Siena, Italy — The UCI WorldTour calendar kicks off this Saturday, March 9, in Siena, Italy, on the iconic white gravel hills of Strade Bianche. After a successful season opener in Australia, Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank is ready to launch the 2019 WWT season. The team’s roster for Strade Bianche combines strength and experience to take on this first challenge of the UCI WWT.
Lining up for Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank will be Brodie Chapman (AUS), Ingrid Drexel (MEX), Alison Jackson (CAN), Nina Kessler (NED), Kendall Ryan (USA) and Rozanne Slik (NED).
The 136-kilometer (84.5-mile) course winds through the Italian countryside, featuring more than 30km on gravel roads. With no long climbs, the course has a steady series of punchy hills, with the most significant ascents on the course’s unpaved sections.
At just 5.8 kilometers into the course, the riders are tested on the Ville di Cortano, an unpaved climb with pitches over 10%. With a total of eight gravel sections (shared by the men’s route), Strade Bianche gets progressively more challenging as the course continues. Near the halfway point of the race, a long, undulating fifth section of gravel will shake out the field even more. The last three gravel sections feature steep climbs, with the final climb before the finish reaching 18%, averaging around 12%, before heading into the final meters into Siena.
With years of experience competing in the Spring Classics, Rozanne Slik (NED) said, “This will be my 4th Strade Bianche; it's a very special race to me and suits me well. I am very much looking forward to race the gravel sections. They bring a lot of suffering, but it's fun to race them as fast as we can. I can't wait to finally start the season with the team!” [Read more rider previews]
Ruud Verhagen will be joining the riders for his first race as the Sports Director for Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank. “I'm very excited to do my first race for the team this weekend,” Verhagen added. “The team had a great start in Australia and a good camp, so I'm really looking forward to getting the World Tour season underway.” Verhagen began working as a director, trainer and coach in 2000 and has been a full-time talent coach for the Dutch Federation, with an extensive background as a director for other professional teams. [Read More].
Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank will be pursuing a massive racing program in 2019, with a focus on both the World Tour and North American racing calendars.
“After a successful team camp and season launch in Northern California, we’re really looking forward to getting into the season, both in Europe and here in North America,” said Linda Jackson, Founder of Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank. “We’re coming into Strade Bianche with depth and experience, and we have exciting races lined up in California as well, with the Redlands Classic starting next week.”
Visit the Strade Bianche official website.