Tara Whitten repeated as World Omnium Champion at Track Worlds in Apeldoorn, NED this weekend. Photo courtesy Brian Black Hodes, VeloImages.

Pescadero, California - In what was described as a perfect performance, Canadian Tara Whitten of Team TIBCO/To the Top successfully defended her Track Ominum World Championship in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands over the weekend. Whitten beat out American standout Sarah Hammer and Dutch power Kirsten Wild to take her second consecutive ominum crown.

"It feels even better the second time around," she said.

Whitten was never far from the front during any of the six races that comprise the omnium, including three 2nd place finishes. She took over the lead from Wild after finishing 2nd in the fourth race in the omnium, the Individual Pursuit, and solidified it with another 2nd place in race five, the Scratch Race.

Whitten's TIBCO teammate Joanne Kiesanowski also put in a strong ride in the omnium to take 9th place in the final standings.

Over in Italy
Team TIBCO also had a five-rider squad contesting the first World Cup of the season, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda in northern Italy. The Team put in a strong effort on the hilly, 121 km parcourse. In the race of attrition, Meghan Guarnier found herself in the front group once the race had hit the finishing circuits. However the good position was negated when she was crashed out late in the race. The race was won in epic solo fashion by current World Time Trial Champion Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo), who soloed for the final 69 km to take the win.

Much closer to home
Team TIBCO also had a seven-rider squad that included juniors Alexis Ryan and Tara McCormick, taking on the San Dimas Stage Race, in final preparation for next weekend's NRC-opening Redlands Classic.

"We had a really strong weekend of racing," said Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt. "Erinne (Willock) and Carmen (Small) both rode really good opening time trials and everyone was very active during the stage 2 road race. And Jennifer Wheeler was an absolute force during Sunday's criterium."

San Dimas opened with a 3.7-mile uphill time trial. Willock finished a mere one second off the podium on a day where she finished just 0:19 behind 2008 World Time Trial Champion Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad). Just ahead of her in 3rd was another former World Time Trial Champion, Kristen Armstrong, with former Team TIBCO rider Amanda Miller (HTC-Highroad) climbing to an impressive 2nd place. Small also rode to a strong 6th place, just 0:30 back of Neben.

The Team rode in typically aggressive fashion in the hilly Stage 2 San Dimas Hospital Road Race. The stage was run over a tough 7-mile circuit around Frank Bonelli Park, and offered up QoM sprints every other lap that had the potential to spring breaks. But despite their best efforts, Team TIBCO couldn't get any moves established.

"Erinne and Carmen both rode really well on Saturday be we couldn't get the right mix of people to get a move going," Hunt said.

Instead, Heather Logan-Sprenger (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) was able to sneak off the front and take a solo win 0:44 ahead of the main field. Willock and Small both finished in the top 10 but were unable to take advantage of time bonuses to move up in the standings.

Sunday's 55-minute criterium offered one last opportunity to get a move going. And, as Hunt noted, "Wheeler was a stud today."

Half-way through the race, she was on the front stringing out the field and opening a small gap. When that came back, she went again and got another gap. "The field wasn't letting anything go today, though," Hunt added. She added that all the Team's riders rode exceptionally well today, including Carlee Taylor, who spent plenty of time driving the pace on the front.

The race came down to a field sprint, with HTC-Highroad's Chloe Hosking taking the win. Small gave the sprint a go and took 4th on the day. In the end, Willock and Small finished 5th and 7th overall.

"It was a really good weekend and a good sign for next weekend," Hunt concluded. "I think we're going to have a really amazing Redlands." Expecially considering the Redlands roster will get a boost from the addition of two very big engines in the form of Alison Powers and Team captain Meredith Miller.

San Dimas Photos by Jonathan Devich, Epic Images