This interview was conducted with SHANNON MALSEED before her crash at the 2020 Lexus of Blackburn Bay Crits. We wish her a speedy recovery from shoulder and back injuries and look forward to seeing her back in the peloton and racing again soon. But her insights remain a great introduction to the team at TIBCO-SVB ahead of this Tour. Good luck Shannon.

Aussie cycling fans have a special place in their heart for team TIBCO- Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), with the outfit offering a wonderful pathway over recent years for top talent from down-under a chance to ride the big time. And they have done it with great success, proving a pathway is possible from local roads to the world stage.

These names include Brodie Chapman, winner of the inaugural Lexus of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun Tour in 2018, super young talent Sarah Gigante who will be officially joining in 2020 and former National Champion Shannon Malseed.

Malseed, who has the team nickname of ‘Dash’ (short for dachshund because she has short legs and long torso!) knows that this event offers a window to the world for those women looking to one day emulate her own feats.

“For the up and coming Aussies who are aspiring to make the jump to the professional peloton – racing the Lexus of Blackburn Herald Sun Tour is a great way to get your name out there. It’s not a WorldTour event which means the domestic teams are given an opportunity to race with the best in the world – and we have seen time and time again, that taking this opportunity and giving it your all can really pay off, whether you win or not – the teams and riders can see who has got what it takes, and for sure it is an exciting time of year for the Australian women to be able to showcase themselves, and really show off their strengths.

2019 was a handy year for Team TIBCO – SVB. They got started the year with top ten’s in the Classics and Ardennes thanks to Alison Jackson and Brodie Chapman. The team then went on to win races in America with Chapman winning the overall Tour of Gila and Malseed nabbing a stage win in the Joe Martin stage race and finishing second overall. Nina Kessler also had success in the Tour of Chongming Island in China, while Jackson also stood out at the Women’s Tour of Scotland in August.

Buoyant about the new signings for 2020, Malseed hopes the team can continue their upward trajectory on the world stage.

“Looking forward into 2020, we have some new faces on the team including fellow Aussie Champion Sarah Gigante, and another half Aussie (we will still claim her) Jenelle Crooks. Both ladies will join us for the Lexus of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun Tour, and both are great assets to the team. 

The 2018 national champion was kind enough to give us her insights into the line-up we will likely see in February for the two-stage event.

“Joining us in Australia all the way from the United States is Lauren Stephens – she’s well known in the peloton for her incredible time trial capabilities – a strength that will serve us well for both stages of the tour as she can be a great lead out rider for a sprint, and also performs really well on a long steady climb like Falls Creek.

“Nina Kessler from the Netherlands is coming to Australia for the first time, so if she can keep her eyes on the road and off the kangaroos and koalas, I’m really excited to see how her sprinting form is in February after some really great results on the track in December.

“Sharlotte Lucas from New Zealand will also be back on Aussie soil for the summer. She is a handy lead out and has a good little sprint herself. Along with that, she’s an amazing teammate and always gives her absolute 100% for the team.

“Sarah Gigante, we all know Sarah for her long solo breakaways, especially the one that won her National title in January this year. I know she’s been in flying form and won pretty much every race she’s been entered in lately. She can do it all, climb, sprint, time trial, breakaway specialist…. you name it. So, I’m honestly just glad to have her on the team and not have to race against her!

“Finally, another great cyclist I’m glad to team up with again is Jenelle Crooks from AUS/NZ. After a one year spell from the pro peloton, Jenelle has clearly put in some hard yards training and racing domestically this year and looks to be back in great form so I’m excited to see what she can do with us this season. She’s a great climber and time trialist, so she will also be well suited for stage two up Falls.”

Much of this race will pivot on team fortunes on day two, the Thule Falls Creek stage.

Standby for Team TIBCO-SVB to be right there once again for this Tour, and maybe unearth another local gem that can shine brightly and work hard to live the dream.

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