Kristen Faulkner led the way for Team BikeExchange-Jayco, scoring two stage wins and the mountains classification in the 33rd edition of the Giro Donne.
The 29-year-old American kicked things off by winning the Stage 1 time trial riding her CADEX Aero WheelSystem. Her teammate Georgia Baker finished second in the TT, 4 seconds back. Faulkner’s win put her in the maglia rosa leader’s jersey, which she wore through Stage 2.
Faulkner also won Stage 9, a difficult 112km race that earned the queen stage status of this year’s Giro Donne with three hard climbs and a summit finish. Riding her Liv Langma Advanced SL Disc bike with a CADEX Road WheelSystem, she attacked early on the first categorized climb with Italian Gaia Realini. Faulkner left Realini behind on the day’s final climb to earn the stage win and also take over the green mountain points jersey, which she defended in the following day’s final stage.
Despite losing two of its lead riders before the finish of the Giro Donne, Team BikeExchange-Jayco was a consistent presence at the front of the race, scoring 11 top-10 finishes. Teniel Campbell, the recently crowned Trinidad and Tobago road and time trial champion, wrapped things up with a 10th place finish on the final stage.
Those highlights helped make up for some disappointment after Baker, the team’s GC leader, and Amanda Spratt were both ruled out of the race due to positive COVID-19 tests before the start of Stage 8.
“This Giro had a lot of ups and downs for us,” Faulkner said. “We had a really strong start on Stage 1 with Georgia and I taking one-two in the TT, which was really a nice to start out with the pink jersey. Then I showed my climbing legs on Stage 9 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 ten days.”
Also representing CADEX at the Giro Donne was the Liv Racing Xstra team. Italian rider Rachel Barbieri gave the squad its best result on the final day, when she sprinted to a second-place finish to earn the podium on Stage 10.