Kristen Faulkner signs for EF Education-Cannondale

New American team secures big homegrown talent in Alaskan all-rounder

Clock15:04, Tuesday 10th October 2023
Kristen Faulkner will move to EF Education-Cannondale for 2024 after two years with Jayco-AlUla

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Kristen Faulkner will move to EF Education-Cannondale for 2024 after two years with Jayco-AlUla

New women’s Continental squad EF Education-Cannondale have added another rider to their growing roster for 2024, confirming the signing of Kristen Faulkner from Jayco-AlUla.

Faulkner has been one of the most exciting American riders in the women’s peloton in recent years and will be one of EF’s main hopes in many of the biggest races as she bolsters their journey to move up to the WorldTour in future seasons.

“I've never been this excited about a team before,” Faulkner said of the move. “And I like it. It's very genuine, like I really feel intrinsically excited. And that makes me really happy because I feel like that means I'm on the right team.”

Read more: Pro cycling transfers – every move for the 2024 season

The Alaskan’s arrival marks another North American talent on the US team’s books, joining Americans Veronica Ewers and Coryn Labecki, and Canadians Alison Jackson, Clara Emond and Magdeleine Vallieres as the team looks to balance homegrown riders among international names.

Faulkner started her career on the American team TIBCO-SVB, but despite a successful two years on the squad, she was not offered a contract renewal and has spent two seasons with Jayco-AlUla.

“The first reason I wanted to sign with the team was that I really wanted to go back to an American team,” she said. “Being an American on an American team is important to me. The second reason is that I really aligned with the values of the sponsors, in particular with EF Education First being an education company. Education is something I deeply value.

“I’ve raced on Cannondales before and I love how they ride so it feels in some ways like I’m going back home. The final reason is the series of conversations I’ve had with the management. They talked to me as a person and not just a number and that was important to me going into the team. I also know some of the riders already and I’m excited to race with them.”

Read more: Alison Jackson signs for EF Education-Cannondale

A latecomer to cycling after transferring from college rowing and then a career in finance, Faulkner joined the pro peloton in 2020 with Team TIBCO-SVB, and has a quick rise towards the top of the sport, with three WorldTour wins under her belt already.

With victories in one-day races, time trials and hilly days of stage races, Faulkner’s specialism is not yet defined, but attracted the attention of EF with her aggressive style of racing.

“I like to go solo,” she said. “I like to work really hard. But I like to make it both a race and a game where it’s fun, it’s unpredictable and I can catch people off guard. I’m a rider who is time trial-heavy and very much an all-rounder with a penchant for attacking solo.”

Faulkner made headlines earlier this year when a valiant solo ride earned her a third-place finish at Strade Bianche, but the result was later stripped after it was noticed that she was wearing a continuous glucose monitor, the use of which is banned in competition.

Even missing her Strade Bianche podium spot, the 30-year-old’s palmarès is impressive with wins at the Tour of Norway, Tour de Suisse and the Giro d’Italia Donne, and she hopes to add to that list in 2024 with EF Education-Cannondale, where the Olympics will be a central part of her calendar.

Read more: Kristen Faulkner injured by a car in training

Her 2023 season has been derailed by injury, but she returned to racing in September and is working towards new goals next year.

“I want to make the Olympics squad for the time trial and I want to become more of a GC rider,” she said. “I’ll probably go for results in races with a time trial. Depending on the race, I can see myself supporting the team or working on being a GC rider. I see myself as someone who can fill a lot of different roles.

“I don't have one distinct thing that I'm good at – I'm not a pure climber, I’m not a pure sprinter – and that gives me a lot of freedom to try different things. The team can use that to our advantage by using me to make the race unpredictable, someone who can win a race but in a very unpredictable way. But at the end of the day, I just want to win with this team.”

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