Dream start: Faulkner & Baker go 1-2 for Team BikeExchange-Jayco in Giro d’Italia Donne stage 1 TT

Dream start: Faulkner & Baker go 1-2 for Team BikeExchange-Jayco in Giro d’Italia Donne stage 1 TT

Kristen Faulkner and Georgia Baker made it a dream start to the Giro d’Italia Donne as the Team BikeExchange-Jayco duo demolished the field to finish first and second on the opening stage time trial in Sardinia.

The victory means Faulkner will wear the first Maglia Rosa of this year’s race, in what is only her second appearance at the event, after another stunning display against the clock following her recent Tour de Suisse TT stage win.

Baker was amongst the early starters in Cagliari and the Australian blitzed the provisional fastest time as she crossed the line and stopped the clock in 5’49”, to go 10-seconds quicker and move into the hot seat.

Several riders edged closer to Baker’s benchmark, but it was teammate Faulkner who eventually knocked the Giro Donne debutant off the top spot. The American demonstrated her raw TT power once again as she set a phenomenal time of 5’45” over the 4.75km course to go quickest.

General classification hopeful Amanda Spratt set a competitive time of 6’10” to end the day amongst the overall contenders for this year’s race, while Georgia Williams, Nina Kessler and Teniel Campbell each ticked off the opening day of action, with the latter debuting her new Trinidad and Tobago TT champion’s kit.

For Faulkner, it was a nervous wait in the hot seat as each rider rolled down the start ramp, but nobody could get within touching distance of the 29-year-old, who held on to take the victory and the first Maglia Rosa on a memorable day for Team BikeExchange-Jayco.

Kristen Faulkner (1st)
“I’m thrilled, I never thought I’d be wearing the pink jersey at this race, so it’s a huge surprise, but it’s a great surprise and it’s definitely something that was one of my dreams, I just didn’t think it would come this soon.

I did not come in thinking about holding onto the pink jersey, I have strong teammates who can climb and sprint, so I came into the Giro hoping to support them in this race. I don’t know what the strategy will be now, but I know that we have a deep squad and a lot of cards to play, so hopefully we can play numbers and being in pink only makes our options stronger.

I feel really proud of all the work my teammates and I and my coach have put in and I’m just really happy that I could bring home the pink on the first day for the team.

I think stage two and three are probably likely a sprinter’s finish and then stage four is a day that you might not win the GC, but you might be able to lose it. I think there’s some punchy climbs, so hopefully we can hang onto the jersey for the next few days.”

Alejandro González-Tablas (Sport Director)
“It’s a great start, we couldn’t have imagined a better start to the Giro Donne; taking the stage and the pink jersey. We saw the performances in the Tour de Suisse, we knew that Kristen and Georgia were in good form, and we knew the time trial is a big strength for them.

We did some good work in the recons, we had a good plan for the day and it worked out fantastically for us today.”

2022 Giro d’Italia Donne Stage 1 – Results:
1. Kristen Faulkner (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 05’45”
2. Georgia Baker (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 05’49”
3. Elisa Balsamo 05’51”

2022 Giro Donne Stage 1 – GC:
1. Kristen Faulkner (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 05’45”
2. Georgia Baker (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:04
3. Elisa Balsamo +0:06

Photo: Getty Sport