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

Yates takes an impressive second victory in three-days with a solo win on the final day at Vuelta Asturias – Team BikeExchange Jayco

Stage one winner Simon Yates has taken a second victory at the three-day Vuelta Asturias, attacking on today’s final climb and riding away solo, to snatch another spectacular win as part of the ‘Final Touches‘ to his Giro d’Italia preparations.
After bringing back a breakaway of four riders ahead of the final climb, Team BikeExchange-Jayco continued to set a fierce tempo at the head of the peloton, leading into ‘Violeo,’ a short 3.1km climb with sections as steep as 20% and an average gradient of 9.2%.

Australian powerhouse Callum Scotson then launched an attack on the bottom slopes of the climb which Yates used as a launch pad, jumping across to his teammate before darting away again, with just one rider able to hold on his wheel initially. 

As the road continued to head north, Yates pressed on the pedals once again, riding away from his rivals to crest the top of the climb and barrel down a technical descent alone, and towards the finish line with a healthy advantage.
The 29-year-old maintained his lead over a small group of chasers on the flat road to the finishing town of Oviedo, crossing the line with a 37 second gap to take his second victory of the race. The success brings both Yates and the Australian outfit confidence ahead of the upcoming Giro d’Italia, starting on Friday, 6th May.
Simon Yates – 1st place
“It was a good race today in the end. I had a little bit of a bad day yesterday, just with the heat. It was the first really hot race that I had done all year but today I bounced back very well, the legs felt good and the team rode really well again.

They controlled all day, set me up well for the final attack on the last climb, so it all went to plan and now we are looking forward to the Giro, which starts already in five days.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director
“Today was a short, intense and relatively flat day. We had a really crucial and very, very tough climb to the finish. As we have been for the last couple of days, we continued our process of preparing for the Giro, we controlled the day and brought the break back and the boys put Simon in a very good position at the bottom of the climb.
Callum Scotson slipped away on the bottom slopes of the climb and Simon went across to him. He rode a tempo that nobody could follow, then he was in the safest place to be, ahead solo, on a very tricky descent where there was a crash in the main group behind. 

Simon was too strong, and it was a good comeback after yesterday. We know the reason why Simon suffered yesterday. Traditionally he suffers with the first shock of high temperatures and humidity in the season, and we have now got that out of the way with two hot days here. 

We walk away with two wins from this race, the team is in a really good place, and we built some really good cohesiveness. Now it’s legs up, recover and focus on getting across to Budapest to start the Giro d’Italia next week.”

2022 Vuelta Asturias stage 3 results:
1. Simon Yates 2:47:08
2. Vincenzo Albanese +0:37
3. Kevin Vauquelin +0:37

Final General Classification:
1. Ivan Sosa 
2. Lorenzo Fortunato +0:15
3. Nicolas Edet +0:44
14. Simon Yates
Photo: Gomez Sport 

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Barbier sprints to fourth place after impressive leadout

Israel Start-Up Nation set up Rudy Barbier perfectly for the final sprint on stage 2 of Arctic Race of Norway with an impeccable leadout.

Knowing that Friday’s stage would be a good opportunity for the sprinters to shine, the ISN guys were the determined to get in the mix. The team helped set the pace in the peloton, bringing back the early breakaway for the expected bunch sprint in Kilpisjärvi (Finland).

At the end, Tom Van Asbroeck and Rick Zabel pulled off an incredible leadout for Rudy Barbier who sprinted to fourth place on the day. The Frenchman was aiming for more but unfortunately, he suffered a hard crash earlier on the stage, which held him back in the sprint.

Tomorrow, the queen stage of Arctic Race of Norway awaits with the uphill finish in Målselv. ISN will be banking on Ben Hermans to fight for a good result.

Sports director, Nicki Sørensen: “It makes me happy to see such a strong team performance as we saw today. Unfortunately, Rudy [Barbier] crashed hard halfway through the stage and landed up in a ditch. Taking that into consideration, I think this was a good result. The leadout was impeccable. Once again, Rick [Zabel] and Tom [Van Asbroeck] show how incredibly good they are at this. Also Guy Sagiv was very impressive today. He pulled a lot yesterday and today he was up there again. He’s really strong at the moment. We didn’t get the win today but I’m still very satisfied with the guys.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com