Brabantse Pijl next on the Classics menu, Faulkner top 20 at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Kristen Faulkner summoned her Alaskan roots to see her through a cold, soggy, and windy Liège-Bastogne-Liège this past Sunday, and they didn't disappoint. Faulkner thrived in the biting conditions, and she completed her first Belgian Classic with a stellar top 20 placing.
The 124km race began at an aggressive pace, and early on, Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank took to the front of the peloton to assess dangerous moves.
Wet roads and windy conditions were the order of the day at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Photo/Velofocus
"I was poorly positioned going into the Côte de la Vecquée and missed the first breakaway of nine riders that split on that climb. Before Côte de La Redoute, my teammate Lauren (Stephens), told me to move to the front and to chase down any breaks that tried to go.
"When I saw Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, and several others start to push, I doubted I would make it, but the confidence from my teammates really gave me the boost I needed."
Faulkner reached the summit with around 15 riders who chased the breakaway of nine for the remainder of the race.
"Overall, it was a brutal course and I am thrilled to have finished my first Liege-Bastogne-Liege race among riders that I've spent years looking up to," Faulkner said. "My biggest takeaways from the race are how important it is to be towards the front before climbs, and how valuable it is to communicate with my teammates." Director Rachel Hedderman said the team continues to learn and progress from each racing opportunity. "It's great to get top 20 results in both of the Ardennes Classics, and now we're looking forward to the Flanders Classics."
Nina Kessler navigates slick cobbled streets during Liege. Photo/Velofocus
Team TIBCO- Silicon Valley Bank takes on the cobbles with the transitional Flanders Classic race, Brabantse Pijl, tomorrow (Oct. 6). The 121.5-kilometer event starts in Lennik and features 19 short, but testing climbs before finishing in Overijse. The race will be televised live on Global Cycling News Race Pass app, beginning at 10:45 a.m. CEST (1:45 a.m. PST).
"Brabantse Pijl is shorter climbs, but we're expecting another fast and hard race," Hedderman said. "We've recon-ed the course, so we know where the key points will be, and it's good to have that knowledge, but with the inevitable wind and possible rain, obviously we have to be prepared for any part of the race to become a key point."
Brabantse Pijl roster:
Lauren Stephens Nina Kessler Kristen Faulkner Leah Dixon Sharlotte Lucas Emily Joy Newsom
Emily Joy Newsom finds new depths of strength in her first European race with the team this season. Photo/Velofocus