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"Pierre [Rolland] and I will put a focus on the GC and, through the help of great teamwork, I’m confident we can put a strong race together.”

Photo: A.S.O.


















04.04.2016 @ 14:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Cannondale Pro Cycling Team will look to young American Lawson Craddock to continue his progression this week at the Tour of the Basque Country. Pierre Rolland, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Michael Woods also give the team options in the Basque stage race.

País Vasco, or the Tour of the Basque Country, isn’t one of the season’s most well known events, yet ask more than a few pros and they’ll say it’s one of the hardest races on the calendar.
This year shouldn’t provide an exception.
“Small roads. Farm lanes. Really steep climbs in the woods there. Phew. It’s really hard,” head sport director Charly Wegelius said. “Short stages. An extremely steep time trial route. It’s a really challenging race with challenging weather.”
The team has tapped Craddock, 24, to be a protected rider.
“He’s made really steady progress all through the spring,” noted Wegelius. “He’s been well placed. Those races in the south of France in February, they were a similar style. There’s every reason to expect him to continue the kind of progression we’ve seen from him.”

Craddock finished sixth on the general classification at Critérium International recently.
“I’m really looking forward to País Vasco this week,” Craddock said. “It’s a brutal race that takes absolutely no prisoners. It’s been a solid spring for the team and we are looking to build on that this week. With such hard stages and the style of racing that Pais-Vasco has to offer, we are coming in with a strong team that can fight for results every day. Pierre [Rolland] and I will put a focus on the GC and, through the help of great teamwork, I’m confident we can put a strong race together.”
Craddock is slated to line up at the Ardennes after the Basque race and continues to look toward the Amgen Tour of California later this spring.
“For Lawson, it’s all there for the taking. He has talent, he is hungry for success, and he has put in the hard yards over his first couple of years as a pro.  While he is starting to understand how the sport works at this level, he still does not know his limits. Its up to him to push himself now to find those limits, and so far he is doing a great job of that,” Wegelius said. “He is working hard, and showed up to the races in France recently in great shape. This shows that he knows how to put in the work at home. I hope that we can support him to push his limits even further over the season.”
Canadian Michael Woods will also look to make the most of his chances as his form sharpens. He rode smartly at Catalunya, but his big base training — necessary for later-season objectives — hampered his top-end speed.
“Volta Catalunya was a real confidence booster for me this past week,” Woods noted.  “As the race progressed I got better, and I think by the 5th or 6th stage I was already getting excited to race País Vasco.  The race is supposed to be one of, if not the, hardest races on the WorldTour calendar. Its punchy and steep terrain suits my skill set, however this past week my confidence definitely took a hit when I got sick.”


“All this being said, my legs and head finally seem to be coming around, and I am starting to get excited again for this race,” Woods added “Pierre Rolland and Lawson Craddock are going to be our big GC guys here, and hopefully, if I manage to get 100 percent, I can contribute to their success in the mountains, and potentially get a result for myself as well.”
The peloton would be wise not to overlook Tom-Jelte Slagter either. The 26-year-old Dutch rider finished sixth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2014 and will keep building toward the Ardennes races. País-Vasco happens to be on the same ramp.
“He’s riding extremely well also. So he should be good,” Wegelius said. “They’re just similar kind of efforts, similar kind of roads. You spend a lot of time changing pace and so on. And the stages are a bit shorter in those races, but you can come home from that and do one big training ride to round off your shape.”
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for 2016 Vuelta a País Vasco
Andre Cardoso
Simon Clarke
Lawson Craddock
Alex Howes
Pierre Rolland
Tom-Jelte Slagter
Davide Villella
Michael Woods



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