Australian Amanda Spratt will return to European racing on Saturday as she headlines a strong and punchy Team BikeExchange-Jayco squad at opening Women’s WorldTour race of the year, Strade Bianche.
The triple Tour Down Under champion will continue her comeback from her off-season surgery and will line-up alongside an aggressive team, composed of Basque climber Ane Santesteban and American all-rounder Kristen Faulkner.
Neo-pro Ruby Roseman-Gannon will get her first taste of the ‘white roads’ of Tuscany, while New Zealand time trial champion Georgia Williams and the experienced Jessica Allen complete the squad.
It will be an early start for the women’s peloton as they roll out of Siena at 9am ahead of a 136km battle in the Tuscan hills. The bunch will tackle 31.4km’s of gravel in total, plus six categorized climbs, including the steep ramp up to the finish line in the Piazza del Campo.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Jessica Allen (AUS)
Kristen Faulkner (USA)
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)
“I am very excited to be back with the team. It’s my first ‘big’ race after a while and I have picked one of the hardest races of the year to start again, but it’s such an epic and challenging race and I can’t wait.
Everyone always wants to always be at the front, especially in the technical gravel sectors and then in the hard finale, of course. It will be really aggressive racing and this can adapt to our style.
Personally, I am really looking forward to being back with the team, I was a bit jealous watching my teammates race on TV. I have been in Mallorca for a nice training block, my expectation for this race must be realistic, but I really hope that with the team we can support each other and take the best out of it. I have seen Ane is in really top shape, so we will work together and do the best we can. I can’t wait for it!”
Martin Vetsby (Head Sport Director):
“We are going to Strade Bianche with a strong team, we are confident we are lining-up in good shape and with multiple options. The level of the race will be high, we know that, and anything can happen when you race on these white roads in the Tuscan hills. It will be important to work well as a team and be well positioned throughout the race.
It will be Spratty’s first race in Europe after a while and we are happy to have her back and her leadership in the team will be great for the whole group.
Ane has proved to be in good form, Ruby demonstrated her talent in various types of races already, Kristen is training hard and working well with the team and we all know what Georgia and Jessica can do for us. The key will be positioning, if we stay united and in the front of the group in order to avoid any type of issues, anything can happen in Siena.”
2022 Strade Bianche Women – Stage Details:
Saturday, 5th March: Siena – Siena, 136km
Photo: Getty Images