Team BikeExchange Jayco have confirmed their official name and full men's roster for 2022, saying they are looking to rebuild and "focus on widespread wins" in their 11th season at WorldTour level.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be known as BikeExchange Jayco, with the Australian recreation vehicles brand coming on board for 2022, and with long-standing team owner Gerry Ryan continuing to back the team.
The Australian team were close to reaching a sponsorship and 50 per cent equity deal with Canadian company Premier Tech but Ryan preferred to keep control of the team. He made a similar decision in 2020 when an agreement with the little-known Manuela Fundación was stopped at the last minute. That led to a shake-up in the team management, with Brent Copeland replacing Shayne Bannan.
The men’s WorldTour team have been consistently successful over the years but their win tally dipped to nine in 2021. Their position on the UCI rankings followed a similar trajectory, falling from 11th in 2020 down to 18th.
Michael Matthews and Simon Yates remain as team leaders for 2022, with a number of new signings and changes made to bolster the squad. They will have a 28-rider roster for the new season, with 11 Australian riders.
"Along with our team owner Gerry Ryan, who is deeply involved in these important team decisions, I truly believe we have done a detailed analysis of the past season and we are confident that the decisions have been made in the best interest of the team, both with regards to rider selections as well as team goals and ambitions," said Copeland, who explained the difficulties of the 2021 season in a recent interview with Cyclingnews.
The seven new signings include Lawson Craddock and Matteo Sobrero, who beat Filippo Ganna on a hilly course to win the Italian time trial title, mountain biker Alex Balmer, talented young Spanish rider Jesus David Peña, and young Australians Kelland O’Brien and Campbell Stewart.
Head sport director Matt White said changes in the team’s roster means changes in the team’s ambitions.
"We have traditionally been a team that has won races across our roster from January to October and never relied on one star to deliver the majority of our wins. We did not achieve this in 2021 and it’s an area we will again focus on in 2022," White said.
"The Grand Tours are of course very important objectives, especially with leaders like Simon Yates and Michael Matthews, but in this rebuilding phase, winning races anywhere and everywhere is also crucial. With these changes in mind, we will alter some of our goals for the coming season, and that also involves adapting our style of racing when required."
A familiar core but some new faces
The core of the team again includes Luke Durbridge, Alex Edmondson, Jack Bauer, Michael Hepburn, Damien Howson, Chris Juul-Jensen, Cameron Meyer, Luka Mezgec and Nick Schultz. The team are expected to switch from Bianchi to Giant bikes for 2022.
Esteban Chaves has moved to EF Education-Nippo, Brent Bookwalter has retired and Rob Stannard has moved to Alpecin-Fenix. Mikel Nieve has yet to confirm his future plans.
"We have a mix of young talent and experienced hands coming into the team next year," White said.
"In terms of experience, we are losing some of our older experienced guys, so replacing them with the right people was crucial. One is Lawson Craddock, who is renowned for being a reliable teammate across a variety of terrains. He has numerous years of experience at World Tour level but will also get the opportunity to challenge himself for personal objectives.
"Matteo Sobrero, who pulled off one of the biggest time trial upsets of the year by beating World Champion Filippo Ganna to win the Italian Championships, also joins us with WorldTour pedigree as a support rider for big GC leaders. We also believe that Matteo can continue to reach new personal highs with us moving forward.
"With two young world class track riders in Kelland O’Brien and Campbell Stewart, we will be transitioning them across to the WorldTour road ranks and they were specifically brought in to work with Kaden Groves, our developing sprint star. To have a young, developing sprint train around Kaden consistently, with riders of a similar age that can learn and win together, it’s an area which we see as a great opportunity for us to gain wins in 2022.
"Alex Balmer and Jesus David Peña are obviously great young talents, Balmer will continue at the highest level in the MTB world whilst continuing to develop as a world class road rider. Peña comes to us with little European exposure, largely due to COVID restrictions in his first two years out of the junior ranks, but we will help assimilate him into the European scene and we really believe in his raw talent.
"Our final signing is Jan Maas, another rider who we are excited to have onboard and continue his development. He has some great experience at continental level, and I am sure he will be of great value in the mountains in key races next year."
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