Analysis: Kristen Faulkner to lead BikeExchange-Jayco in 2023 as team focuses on GC results

The Australian team boasts its biggest roster yet with 15 riders for 2023.

Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

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The BikeExchange-Jayco women’s team has always been one of mixed ambitions, but the squad is set to home in on its general classification potential from 2023 with Kristen Faulkner at the helm.

Faulkner is still a relative newcomer to professional cycling, after turning pro in 2020, but she’s increasingly proved herself as a force to be reckoned with in the GC fight. The U.S. rider took two stage victories and 11th overall at the Giro d’Italia Donne in July and scored podium finishes at Itzulia Women and the Tour de Suisse.

With Amanda Spratt headed to Trek-Segafredo for the 2023 season, Faulkner will be top dog at the team next year. The team is also hoping that Alex Manly after she showed some serious promise as a stage racer with third overall at the Tour of Scandinavia.

“We have seen over the last couple of years how much women’s cycling is progressing. It has been incredible to witness and be a part of and it was demonstrated this year with a very successful Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Naturally, with the inclusion of these high-profile stage races, the team’s focus leans more towards overall stage racing success,” general manager Brent Copeland said.

“We have built a team for 2023 that is well balanced, and we believe we have the right pedigree of riders to challenge for general classification podium placing and wins. We saw with the great support from their teammates this season, riders such as Kristen Faulkner and Alex Manly showed their huge potential in racing consistently through long stage races and I’m sure we will see them challenging for overall victories in many tours next season.”

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Faulkner still has plenty of room to improve as a GC rider and there will be some lessons learned from her 2022 experiences, but her abilities as a time trialist are a major asset. Her Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift performance was not a true representation of what she could do after she struggled to get back to her best following a bout with COVID-19.

With some fire in her belly for 2023, Faulkner should be destined for another step up next season.

Manly is also very much a work in progress having taken a break from road racing in 2020 and 2021 to focus on track racing. Though she has been seen as more of a sprinter, with a string of sprint victories at the Thüringen Ladies Tour, and the overall title, in May.

However, she showed that she showed that she has more strings to her bow than that with her impressive third-place finish overall, and a stage win, at the Tour of Scandinavia. She’s got some more work to do on her climbing if she wants to look at grand tours, but she could still notch up some strong performances at the shorter stage races.

BikeExchange also boasts some more strong climbing talent in Urška Žigart and Ane Santesteban. Žigart put in some really promising performances in the Tour de France, particularly with her eighth-place finish at Le Markstein on the penultimate stage. She will need to work more on her skills within the peloton, but she really comes into her own when the road goes up.

Meanwhile, Santesteban is a strong one-day rider and can pull out some solid GC performance on the shorter stage races. She will be a key support rider for the team in 2023.

Plenty of promise

The team has been busy in the off-season with five new signings, replacing three departing riders. It means that the team has a net gain of two riders and sees it field its biggest roster yet with some 15 riders.

It’s not yet near the maximum of 20 allowed by the UCI, but no teams appear to have the money to hit that marker just yet. There have been no big-name signings to replace those departures but the five coming in pack some promise and talent.

Letizia Paternoster is the most experienced of the incoming riders after four seasons with the Trek-Segafredo squad. She brings in a fast finish and joins a burgeoning sprint line-up at the squad that includes Ruby Roseman-Gannon, Georgia Baker, and Nina Kessler. Teniel Campbell also boasts a fast finish and is becoming an integral part of the team’s support network.

It’s not all about the GC, after all.

Ingvild Gåskjenn has the potential to lend some important back-up on hilly and rolling days as well as scoring a few wins of her own. Meanwhile, there is a trio of rookies ready to prove themselves in Georgie Howe, Alyssa Plites, and Amber Pate.

“It is always exciting bringing on new riders and we believe that the five new additions we have for 2023, will really complement our women’s team, as we bring on a mix of experience, speed, and newfound talent,” Copeland said.

“We are looking forward to working with and assisting with the development of these riders and we have a clear vision for the future and continuing to create a well-balanced team that is able to challenge in all types of races, over varied terrain and throughout the lengthy season. The roster for 2023 will be our largest to date with a great mix of nationalities, and this is something we are very pleased and proud to have, and it again demonstrates the growth of women’s cycling in general and the level of riders internationally.”

BikeExchange-Jayco for 2023

Jess Allen (AUS)
Georgia Baker (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Kristen Faulkner (USA)
Ingvild Gåskjenn (NOR)
Georgie Howe (AUS)
Nina Kessler (NED)
Alex Manly (AUS)
Amber Pate (AUS)
Letizia Paternoster (ITA)
Alyssa Polites (AUS)
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Chelsie Tan (SGP)
Urška Žigart (SLO)

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