Team BikeExchange-Jayco women gear up for Belgian classics double header

Team BikeExchange-Jayco women will begin their Classics campaign with the traditional Belgian double header of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland this weekend.

New recruit Kristen Faulkner will make her debut for the team as the American looks to start 2022 and the Classics season with a bang. Australian Ruby Roseman-Gannon, Teniel Campbell and Nina Kessler will all start both races, fresh off four days of action-packed racing at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.

Ane Santesteban and Georgia Baker will complete the squad for Saturday’s opener, as they all swap the sunny Spanish roads for the cobbles of Belgium. Urška Žigart and Chelsie Tan will line-up for their first races of 2022 – Tan will make her debut with the team – as they complete the six-rider roster for Sunday’s Omloop van het Hageland.

Saturday’s opener, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad boasts nine climbs and five cobbled sectors, including the famous Kapelmuur and Bosberg.  Sunday’s race will see the peloton tackle a series of loops as the race winds through typical Belgian roads for 128.2km.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Line-Up:
Georgia Baker (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Kristen Faulkner (USA)
Nina Kessler (NED)
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)

Omloop van het Hageland Line-Up:
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Kristen Faulkner (USA)
Nina Kessler (NED)
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS)
Chelsie Tan (SGP)
Urška Žigart (SLO)

Kristen Faulkner:
“Nieuwsblad gives us a great opportunity to see how fit we are as individuals and how prepared we are for the season, but also for the team to see how we ride together and what we need to work on.

I think a lot of teams are coming into this weekend in pretty good shape, as we saw in Valenciana, but also the spring Classics are a lot more punchy, with cobbled sections, so it’s a really interesting race as there’s a lot of progress for riders between the end of last season and the spring and what they’ve worked on. Sometimes there’s a whole new set of talent and leaders coming in, and it’s really exciting to see that. One example is Ruby and the sprinters on our team, who are back with the European peloton now but perhaps a lot of teams don’t necessarily know who they are.

For me personally, I’m hoping to be able to get some good results for the team. We have a lot of good sprinters, and if we have numbers towards the end we have the talent to finish it off.”

Martin Vestby – Sport Director:
“We are really happy with how the team has started the year in Australia and Valencia. We made some big changes in the roster during the off-season, and seeing how this group of riders is coming together so well has been great.

We’re going to the opening weekend of the Classics with some careful expectations, and with a lot of positives to build on.

Nieuwsblad, as the first Classics race of the season, is always a big fight with everybody back on the cobbles. We’re coming in with a really strong team and we have some ambitions for them to be up there in the mix, fighting for some good results.

I think our strength in the team now is that we have multiple riders who can produce results from different scenarios, and that makes it even more exciting going into the opening weekend.”

2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – Race Details:
Saturday, 26th Feb: Ghent – Ninove, 128.4km

2022 Omloop van het Hageland – Race Details:
Sunday, 27th Feb: Tienen – Tielt-Winge, 128.2km