Team BikeExchange-Jayco showed their resilience in a Giro d’Italia Donne filled with ups and downs, as they walked away from the 10-day stage race with two impressive stage wins and the overall victory in Queen of the Mountains classification with Kristen Faulkner.
The race got off to a perfect start for the Australian outfit as the squad ran one-two in the opening stage time trial, with Faulkner taking her debut victory ahead of teammate Georgia Baker. The win also meant that the American was the first race leader and donned the famous Maglia Rosa jersey on stage two.
Baker then took back-to-back top-10 finishes as stages two and three came down to bunch sprints, before Australian Amanda Spratt showed her climbing ability on the first mountain stage as she took fifth place in Cesena.
Attacking Mentality & Setbacks
The team once again showed their togetherness on stage six, as Faulkner and Spratt combined on an attacking stage that saw the duo finish fourth and fifth. Spratt then backed it up the following day with a strong finish to eighth place to maintain sixth overall on the general classification after Georgia Williams made the break of the day.
However, disaster struck ahead of stage eight as both Spratt and Baker were ruled out of the race due to Covid-19. Despite the setback, the team regrouped and went on the offensive with Faulkner going on a long-rage attack and holding on for another fourth-place finish.
The best was yet to come for the 29-year-old as she went on the attack for a second consecutive day, jumping away early on the Queen Stage before soloing to her second Giro stage win. The Alaskan also picked up maximum points in the QOM competition to catapult herself to the top of the standings.
The squad wrapped up an impressive and successful 10 days of racing with their 11th top-10 finish of the race, as newly crowned Trinidad and Tobago champion Teniel Campbell sprinted to 10th place on today’s final stage.
Kristen Faulkner (QOM winner)
“This Giro had a lot of ups and downs for us, we had a really strong start on stage one with Georgia and I taking one-two in the TT, which was really nice to start out with the pink jersey.
Then I showed my climbing legs on stage nine with another stage win and taking over the green jersey, which is not something we set out to do when we came to the Giro.
It’s been a whirlwind and I’m just really excited, I’m still discovering what kind of rider I am and the strengths of our team as well, how we work together, and I think it’s been a really great 10 days.”
Martin Vestby (Head Sport Director)
“This Giro has been good for us, I think we should be really happy with how the whole team performed. It’s been a Giro with a lot of ups and downs, with the issues we had with Spratty and Georgia leaving us.
But it just showed that we have a lot of strong riders that can all perform and achieve some good results, with two stage victories and the climber’s jersey. I think we should be really happy and I’m proud of how the girls raced together as a team.”
Photo: Getty Sport