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Team BikeExchange will retain an American accent among its international flavor for the 2022 roster.
Team officials confirmed to VeloNews that a U.S. rider is signed for next season, with the men’s WorldTour roster to remain at 27 going into 2022. The women’s squad also remains at 13 for 2022, with Kristen Faulkner already confirmed for next season.
“We’ll be making announcements in the next few weeks,” BikeExchange general manager Brent Copeland told VeloNews. “Our men’s roster’s been finalized for a while, and we’ll have some interesting names to reveal.”
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Like many teams, BikeExchange is betting on youth for the future, but it also wants a few key veterans to balance out its roster. Brent Bookwalter, who retires this season at 37, joined the team in 2019, and officials confirmed a new American will be on the team next year.
So far, Italian time trial champion Matteo Sobrero (Astana-Premier Tech) is the team’s lone official confirmation. Of the team’s departures, Esteban Chaves is the top name moving on in 2022 as the Colombian is set to join EF Education-Nippo.
“Michael Matthews and Simon Yates are our main pillars for the team,” Copeland said in a phone call. “Of the riders who are being replaced, the only rider who left us who had a big impact is Chaves. We’ve moved toward development and younger riders.”
Kristen Faulkner key signing for women’s team
The women’s team will also remain the same as 2021, with 13 riders going into next season. The arrival of promising U.S. rider Kristen Faulkner is so far the biggest news, with Copeland promising more interesting names soon to be revealed.
“She is such a talented rider and she will be someone who can help lead the team,” Copeland said of Faulkner. “We have some new nationalities coming to the team. Gerry’s always been invested in and believed in the women’s team, and we will keep investing in that area.”
Copeland added the Tour de France Femmes will be a game-changer for the women’s calendar as well.
“It’s huge,” he said of the race. “The way they’ve done the course it’s definitely very exciting. It’s good for women’s cycling, and it’s good for cycling in general. Women’s racing is increasing every year, and the salaries are increasing a lot.”
The team already held its first pre-season meeting and will get together again in early 2022 with all the new members of the team. Despite the cancelation of the WorldTour events at the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Copeland said the team will be present during the cycling festival in Adelaide.
No contact with Tom Dumoulin, Premier Tech merger ‘didn’t go ahead’
Copeland also said the team’s principal owner Gerry Ryan is committed to the future of the team, and said more details about new key partners to solidify the financial underpinnings of the team for the next few years will be forthcoming.
After a possible merger with Premier Tech fell through, the team will bring on Jayco as a co-sponsor. Ryan also owns the Australian subsidiary of the camper/caravan brand. A new bike sponsor for 2022 is also expected.
“We were in discussions with Premier Tech, but it didn’t go ahead,” said Copeland, who confirmed media reports that the Canadian company wanted to buy into ownership of the Aussie-backed team. “Some deals work out and some don’t. Each one went their own way in a good understanding. They did want to buy into the company, but I cannot reveal details.”
And what about those rumors of a possible deal with Tom Dumoulin? Copeland said there have not been any official contacts with the Dutch star, currently under contract with Jumbo-Visma for 2022.
“We haven’t had any negations with him,” Copeland said. “What happened there is someone asked if there might be interest from our team. What team wouldn’t be interested in a rider like Tom Dumoulin, especially if he’s riding the way he rode at the Olympics? That’s as far as it’s gone.”