Team captains Amber Rais (left) and Meredith Miller lead a deep Team TIBCO squad into the Cascade Classic, beginning Tuesday

Los Altos, California - Team TIBCO will bring one of the strongest, most balanced stage race rosters into this week's Cascade Classic, which begins tomorrow.

"We have a lot of options with our roster," said Meredith Miller, one of the team's captains.

The squad includes three of last year's top 10 finishers, including Canadian Julie Beveridge, who finished 3rd overall and won the best young rider competition. Amber Rais finished 8th overall last year, while Miller slotted in at 10th overall.

Add in Kiwi Joanne Kiesanowski, who has been one of the team's most consistently strong riders this season, and it gives the Team TIBCO numerous options in the battle for the overall title.

"Looking at the overall, we have a lot of different cards to play this year," Miller said. "Julie is probably our best climber, and Jo is climbing and sprinting really well. But above all, we want to make the race as hard as possible each day."

The team can count on Australian Emma Rickards, who has been doing a solid block of training with Kiesanowski at altitude in Colorado ahead of the race, to use her aggressive style of racing to shake up the peloton and make things hard on the other teams.

Lauren Tamayo has also been strong all year, and will likely be the team's go-to sprinter for the flatter stages such as the opener and the criterium. Katharine Carroll is also a good candidate for stage wins. She, Tamayo and Miller all should still be on good form following their participation in the Giro d'Italia Donne earlier this month with the U.S. National Team.

Up and coming stage race star Alison Starnes returns for her second crack at the Cascade Classic after doing solid work last year just six months into her cycling career. She'll also look for a strong result in the individual time trial, a discipline in which she excels.

The Cascade Classic opens Tuesday with the mostly flat, 71-mile Smith Rock Road Race. The general classification picture will start to become clearer on the race's second stage, the 79-mile Three Creeks Road Race, which ends with a long climb that gains more than 2,000 feet in elevation.

By the end of the next two stages, a 14-mile time trial and the epic 71-mile stage to Mt. Bachelor, the top of the GC will reflect the race contenders. After a flat, fast 60-minute criterium Saturday, the race ends Sunday with the hilly Aubrey Butte Circuit Race.

Weather will also be a factor this week, as it often is for the Cascade Classic. While no rain is forecast, temperatures are expected to be in the 90s every day. "Hydration will be very important this week," Miller added.

Team TIBCO Roster for the Cascade Classic, July 21-26
Julie Beveridge, CAN
Katharine Carroll, USA
Joanne Kiesanowski, NZL
Meredith Miller, USA
Amber Rais, USA
Emma Rickards, AUS
Alison Starnes, USA
Lauren Tamayo, USA

Photo (c) Wil Matthews Photography