Australians Baker & Roseman-Gannon ready for their first experience of Brugge-De Panne & Gent-Wevelgem


Team BikeExchange-Jayco women are back in Belgium ready to tackle this week’s Flemish Classics with Brugge-De Panne (Thursday)and Gent-Wevelgem (Sunday).

The racing begins with ‘De Panne’ on what is usually a more sprinter friendly course. Australian Georgia Baker will be hoping to show her turn of speed as she takes to the start line of the one-day classic for the first time, with a strong and capable squad alongside her, consisting of Teniel CampbellJess AllenNina Kessler and Georgia Williams.

Italian Arianna Fidanza is also back in action after a cruel crash in the closing metres of Nokere Koerse ruled her out of a top-10 finish. The team will then shuffle the pack for Gent-Wevelgem, with Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Alex Manly coming into the line-up.

De Panne often comes down to a bunch sprint, but two passages of the typically windy ‘Mooren’ section could shake things up before the final. The route for Gent-Wevelgem is slightly modified for 2022, with riders taking on 159km, including seven short and sharp Flemish hills. The steep and cobbled Kemmelberg is the final obstacle before the finale is played out on the flat roads into Wevelgem.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Jess Allen (AUS)
Georgia Baker (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Arianna Fidanza (ITA)
Alex Manly (AUS) *Gent-Wevelgem Only
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS) *Gent-Wevelgem Only
Nina Kessler (NED) *De Panne Only
Georgia Williams (NZL) *De Panne Only

Georgia Baker:
“It’s my first time racing De Panne and Gent-Wevelgen. I’ve learnt a lot from the first half of the spring races and I’m hoping to bring those learnings and confidence into these next races as we ramp up to some bigger goals. 

We expect the wind to impact the outcome of both races, but we have a strong team so we hope to be there at the pointy end with as many riders as possible so we can fight it out for the win.”

Martin Vestby (Sport Director for De Panne):
“I believe position will be the key to interpreting this year’s De Panne in the best possible way. Looking for the right position, both to make possible splits in the wind and to be in control of the race.

We will ride attentive and cover dangerous moves, giving opportunities to the whoever takes it. The wind and direction will dictate how the race can unfold, so it will be very important to race together as a team to be able handle this course and be able to act.”

Andrew Smith (Sport Director for Gent-Wevelgem):
“This year’s edition has a slightly harder and longer route than 2021. The climbs are more concentrated, and we have an ascent up the steep side of the Kemmelberg, which will potentially make it more selective, even with some potential windy sections early on.

We’ll enter the race with a two-pronged approach. We’ll attempt to get our protected riders Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Alex Manly as fresh as possible into the last 30km. We feel that Ruby has a good chance in the finish. Of course, with the new route we’re ready for potential crosswinds and other riders to take opportunities.”

2022 Brugge – De Panne – Race Details:
Tuesday, 24th March, Brugge – De Panne, 168km

2022 Gent – Wevelgem – Race Details:
Sunday, 27th March, Ypres – Wevelgem, 159km

Photo: Getty Sport.