Team BikeExchange women’s team will make their first racing appearance in Europe this weekend at the one-day Belgium Classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Brabantsje-Pijl winner Grace Brown and newly crowned Australian champion Sarah Roy will line-up as leaders with support from new signings Teniel Campbell and Arianna Fidanza, in their debut race for the team.
Australian’s Jess Allen and Amanda Spratt round out the six-rider team looking for a strong start to the Classics campaign.
The 124km race includes 10 steep and challenging climbs such as the Tenbosse, Kapelmuur and finally the Bosberg, which comes less than 15km from the finish line in Ninove.
Team BikeExchange at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
Jessica Allen (AUS)
Grace Brown (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Arianna Fidanza (ITA)
Sarah Roy (AUS)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
“I’m feeling pretty pumped to kick-off the classics season this weekend. You always want to perform really, really well in your favourite bunch of races, but realistically I need to use this race as a feeler for where things are at and to get back in the swing of everything again.
“The less expectation the better initially, but I can imagine the racing won’t be a gentle reintroduction. The field will be very strong, and the racing will be tough, but I’m looking forward to it”.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the cobbles at Het Nieuwsblad this weekend. I’m glad to have some Australian races in my legs already and I am feeling confident, but there are always many unknowns heading into the Opening Weekend of the Classics.
“This race is always hard and exciting like a typical cobbled classic. I expect that it will split up a lot in the final 50km and be raced aggressively. We have a strong team line-up with a mix of experience and new talent, and I hope we will be fighting at the pointy end of the race to get our first European result for the season”
Martin Vestby – Women’s Head Sport Director:
“We will be at the start with a strong and well-prepared team. Coming into the new season, I think we have more cards to play and we have very good riders, so I expect us to be in the fight for the podium and also for the win.
“It will be the first race with a couple of new riders in the team, Teniel Campbell and Arianna Fidanza, who will have a support role for our leaders Sarah Roy and Grace Brown.
“It’s going to be a hard race for sure. There were some little course changes and maybe it will be a little bit easier than last year. The second half of the race, with the combination of cobbles sections and climbs will be the real kick-off of the competition and, of course, will be important to get there as fresh as you we can before the tough finale”.