Santesteban and Faulkner crash during Strade Bianche reconnaissance

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The BikeExchange-Jayco women’s team will have two key riders at Strade Bianche after Kristen Faulkner and Ane Santesteban crashed on reconnaissance of the course, with the Spanish rider hitting her head in the fall.

“The helmet saved my life and saved me from more serious injuries,” Santesteban said on Twitter. “Luckily nothing broken, but a severe headache that I will need time and space to recover from.”

“I also wish a speedy recovery to Kristen Faulkner. We will be back.”

Santesteban and Faulkner were among the most likely contenders to deliver a strong finish for the Australian side, which faced a strong contingent of prospects. Before the crash, chief sporting director Martin Vestby said: “We are going to Strade Bianche with a strong team, we are confident that we are lining up in good shape and with multiple options.”

However, losing two riders who finished in the top 20 of the race is clearly a blow ahead of Saturday’s 136km race on the Tuscan hills, which features a total of 31.4 kilometers of gravel over eight sectors and six climbs categorized. Faulkner finished 16th in her Strade Bianche debut with TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank last year, while Santesteban finished 15th in 2020 while racing with Ceratizit-WNT.

Amanda Spratt, who has twice finished in the top ten, would usually be the top contender on the Strade Bianche team’s starting list but warned her that ‘expectations for this race have to be realistic’ as she pins a number in Europe. for the first time in more than five months after surgery to treat iliac artery endofibrosis. Ruby Roseman-Gannon had excellent form, finishing second in Stage 1 at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, but this is her Strade Bianche debut and also her first Women’s WorldTour race in Europe.

Georgia Williams and Jess Allen, who were both part of the squads that backed former team manager Annemiek van Vleuten to victory in 2019 and 2020, add strong racing experience to the team. They will also be joined by Urška Zigart and Arianna Fidanza after receiving a late call to replace the injured duo.

“It’s never nice to get a call like this, so emotions are mixed, but I’m excited about one of the best races on the calendar and I’m happy to participate and support the team tomorrow.” , Zigart said on Twitter.

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