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Trio of Faulkner, Spratt & Santesteban headline Team BikeExchange-Jayco at the four-day Vuelta Burgos Feminas – Team BikeExchange Jayco

After winning a stage in 2021, Team BikeExchange-Jayco return to the second edition of the women’s WorldTour stage race Vuelta Burgos Feminas, hungry for that top-step of the podium, after two weeks of consistent podium finishes in northern Spain.

Last year’s 10th place overall finisher Amanda Spratt will lead a strong six-rider squad alongside in-form Kristen Faulkner, fresh from her third place finish overall at Itzulia. Giving the team a third option in the climbs will be Ane Santesteban, who will return to the fold, having recovered from illness which saw her pull out of Itzulia on day two.

Also continuing their block of racing in Spain will be crucial support riders in New Zealander Georgia Williams and Slovenian rider Urska Zigart, plus Dutch domestique Nina Kessler who comes in fresh to join the squad and brings a touch of speed.

Like last year’s edition of Vuelta Burgos, the race concludes with a 10km ascent to Lagunas de Niela which should sort out the general classification standings, with the first two stages over undulating terrain, before a category three climb to finish with on the penultimate stage.

However, before this second WorldTour race of the season gets underway in Burgos, the riders will also have another opportunity to fight for victory with the one-day preluding race, Durango-Durango, on the 17th May.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-up:
Kristen Faulkner (USA) 
Nina Kessler (NED)
Ane Santesteban (ESP) *Burgos only
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)
Urska Zigart (SLO)

Amanda Spratt
“I’m feeling happy and excited to continue this block of Spanish races with Durango and then Burgos. I’ve raced Durango 12 times so let’s say I am familiar with it!

The heat has been a shock to the system lately but after a few races already in it, I hope my body responds well in this next block. Durango usually comes down to the final hard and steep climb so I hope to have good legs and be there. I am always aiming for improvements each race. 

Burgos will be exciting and I think with the addition of Ane again after illness, we will have a very strong team. It looks like a couple of faster stages but then a harder uphill one and the same long final climb we raced up last year to finish the tour.

The stages offer a bit of everything, so I think we can aim to use our numbers. We saw how strong the team was at Itzulia and also how impressive Kristen was in her first race back after a month off in March. We can start Burgos with big motivation and big goals.“

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas (Sport Director)
“We have different options for Burgos, I think Spratty is only going to get stronger coming out of Itzulia, it was her first race after a small break following the Ardennes and so as we can see she is continuously progressing with each race. She is a strong rider and like in Vuelta Burgos, we are looking for a top result in Durango.

I think Burgos is going to be played out over two stages pretty much, the final two that have climbs to finish with. We also have Ane Santesteban coming back to join us so that gives another strong card to play, alongside Kristen Faulkner of course, who has shown in these first Spanish one-day races and her podium finish in Itzulia that she has really good legs at the moment.”

2022 Durango-Durango Race Details:
Tuesday, 17th May: Durango – Durango, 113km 
2022 Vuelta Burgos Feminas Race Details:
Thursday, 19th May: Stage 1, Pedrosa del Principe to Aranda de Duero, 121.9km
Friday, 20th May: Stage 2, Sasamon to Aguilar de Campoo, 129km
Saturday, 21st May: Stage 3, Medina de Pomar to Comlejo Karstico Ojo Guarena, 113km 
Sunday, 22nd May: Stage 4, Covarrubias to Lagunas de Niela 125.1km 

Photo: Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

A resilient ride gives Faulkner an impressive third place overall at the inaugural edition of Itzulia – Team BikeExchange Jayco

American rider Kristen Faulkner secured her first WorldTour podium finish of the season after riding consistently throughout the three-day Itzulia, surviving the brutal climbs around San Sebastian on today’s final stage, to hold on for an impressive third place overall for Team BikeExchange-Jayco.

Despite only returning to racing earlier this week, after a long period off due to injury, the 29-year-old displayed her top form, taking third place on the opening stage from a breakaway trio and 10th place yesterday. 

Driving all the way up the final steep climb the Murgil Tontorra, even after struggling with the initial pace on the very steep slopes, Faulkner’s motivation shone through as she dropped but then returned to the front group following a hard fight up and over the top of the climb and down the descent.

Crossing the line in 11th place, the Team BikeExchange-Jayco rider secured a podium finish, rewarding the hard-work of the team over the last days and giving herself confidence upon a valiant return to racing

Kristen Faulkner – 3rd place overall
We worked really hard and I knew the final climb was going to be really hard for me. It was a really steep climb and I actually got dropped on it and the front group was riding away ahead. I just kept drilling and drilling it on the flatter part, over the top and then on the descent.

I just had to focus on not giving up and keep going every single second even if there were people on my wheel. I just held the front and drove it as long as I could and I was able to catch the group right at the bottom of the descent, and stay with them on the flat before I tried an attack.

I was trying to close the gap to Demi, the leader as much as I could to make sure I was able stay third on GC and ahead of Marta Cavalli who was fourth place just behind me.

The biggest lesson for the day was just to keep going. Sometimes you don’t think you can keep going but you never know what is going to happen.” 

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“The team rode incredibly well, we didn’t have many but they all committed to it and we put Kristen in the perfect position into the bottom of the last climb and she did just what she needed to do, pace herself on the climb. 

She had the strength to come back to the front and even have a go on the flat run-in to the finish and in the end was able to finish on the podium. So, we can be very pleased with this and how she has come straight back into racing after some time off.
 
It actually wasn’t the plan for Kristen to be our GC leader for this race, but the racing went in this direction and this is how we race. Ee aren’t closed minded but always open to make changes.”

2022 Itzulia stage 3 results:
1. Demi Vollering 4:01:03
2. Lianne Lippert +0:15
11. Kristen Faulkner +0:15

Final General Classification:
1. Demi Vollering 10:11:54
2. Pauliena Rooijakkers +0:47
3. Kristen Faulkner +1:07

Photo: Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Faulkner attacks & fights to an impressive third place on the opening stage of Itzulia  – Team BikeExchange Jayco

Third place finisher at the Navarra Women’s Classic, Kristen Faulkner, has claimed another podium finish after attacking in the final of today’s stage one in Itzulia. 

The American rider took her opportunity in the final 15km, attacking directly after a dangerous breakaway group was caught and quickly opened up a gap. Fighting ahead on a wide open road, the 29-year-old was shortly after joined by Demi Vollering and Pauliena Rooijakkers, and the trio quickly got into a good rhythm, which enabled them to opened up a lead of around 40 seconds. 

With a technical finish on a narrow road for the final 200m, it was all about positioning into the last 150m, as the riders remained in the same position all the way to the line, with Vollering claiming the stage victory and Faulkner taking her second podium finish in three-days.

Local Basque rider Ane Santesteban also continued to display her top form, fighting to fifth place with Australian climber Amanda Spratt in seventh place, both at 41 seconds.

Kristen Faulkner – 3rd place 
“It was a hard day out, they really push it on the climbs, SD Worx, and then they attacked and four got away right after the final climb so we had to take control chasing them down so that was pretty full gas. 

Then when it all came together I attacked and I was able to stay away for a little while until the two riders came across. Overall it was a really good day, a really hard day and I am really excited to be on the podium again and we have two more days of opportunities to come.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“We were expecting the climbs to be hard and for there to be a small group at the front and we were waiting for that moment for there to be a bit of chaos when things came back together, we wanted to take that opportunity and it worked perfectly. 
 
It was always the plan for Kristen to attack and for us to have Ane and Spratty behind for the sprint, so it was a perfect plan and it worked out. Kristen was unfortuntaly with two riders who where playing out the general classification, so we didn’t want to commit too much, as we had our GC interests behind but in the end another strong podium and she just missed the win.”

2022 Itzulia stage 1 results:
1. Demi Vollering 2:55:17
2. Pauliena Rooijakkers ST3. Kristen Faulkner +0:02
5. Ane Santesteban +0:41
7. Amanda Spratt  +0:41

General Classification after stage 1:1. Demi Vollering 2:55:05
2. Pauliena Rooijakkers ++0:06
3. Kristen Faulkner +0:10

Photo: Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Santesteban & Faulkner fight hard to second & third at the Navarra Women’s Classic – Team BikeExchange Jayco

Local Basque rider Ane Santesteban and American Kristen Faulkner raced to a strong second and third place respectively today, on another hot, hard and hilly day in Navarra, with Team BikeExchange-Jayco also taking the victory in the team’s classification for the second-consecutive day.
 
After finishing in fourth place and sixth place in yesterday’s race, the duo knew that their legs were good and made it into the winning breakaway in the final 40km of today’s 127km Navarra Women’s Classic.
 
The quartet of Ewers, Benito, Santesteban and Faulkner hovered between 20 seconds to one minute ahead of a reduced chasing bunch of ten riders in the final 25km, but with teammates Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Urska Zigart behind, the squad was relaxed and confident in the race situation. 
 
It was on the final climb of the day when the race exploded as Veronica Ewers attacked hard on the steep slopes, leaving Faulkner and Santesteban with a big chase ahead of them. The Team BikeExchange-Jayco duo gave it their all, trying to make the junction to the new solo leader in the final 10km, but along the narrow twisty roads, the time gap remained around 30 seconds.

In the end, the squad walk away with another solid podium finish and full of confidence in their condition heading into the coming Spanish races.
 
Ane Santesteban – 2nd place
“I think we had a really good scenario to go for the win today with myself and Kristen in the breakaway and we worked really well together but there in the end, the Education First rider was just stronger on the last climb. 

Me and Kristen rode together and worked together well but it wasn’t enough in the end so of course we are a little bit disappointed, we want to win but with the way we are racing like this, the win will arrive soon.”
 
Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas (Sport Director)
“I think we proved one more time that we are the strongest team in these races, we have no doubt about that. We controlled the race the way we wanted, the girls did pretty much everything we wanted, we set it up how we planned for. 

We had the situation we wanted to have but probably wanted a bit more co-operation from the riders in that group, so we had to take the control but at the end there was just one rider stronger than us on the climb but there was nothing we could do. 

You always want the win but it is still all very positive and we are looking for more chances with the coming races we have here in Spain.”

2022 Navarra Women’s Classic Results:
1. Veronica Ewers 3:27:52
2. Ane Santesteban +0:35
3. Kristen Faulkner  +0:58
 
Photo: Gomez Sport

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com