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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. - Samuel Johnson

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Giant-Alpecin headed to Tour of California

This came from the team:

With the Giro d'Italia underway over in Europe, riders are crossing the Atlantic for the 11th edition of the Amgen Tour of California, which gets underway this Sunday. The 2016 parcours offers a scenic but difficult route with a total distance of nearly 1300km to cover, including the race’s iconic ascent the Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County. Team Giant-Alpecin heads to the United States with the necessary experience in the line-up, as well as two talents who are in their first year being part of a WorldTour team.

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED): "The Amgen Tour of California is an exciting race with quite a few tricky stages where late attacks could avoid a bunch sprint. It is also important to be aware of certain circumstances, such as the crosswinds or the heat. Overall, it's a challenging course that should suit the all-rounders instead of the pure climbers.

John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb (shown after winning 2015 Paris-Roubaix) will be at the Tour of California

"For the overall classification, we will focus on Laurens and I expect a fight for every second all the way to Sacramento. For stage results, we have several options, primarily with Ramon [Simkeldam] in a possible bunch sprint. For John [Degenkolb] is all about gaining race rhythm and there is no immediate pressure for him to deliver results."

And here's Cannondale's Tour of California update:

Lawson Craddock to lead Cannondale Pro Cycling Team in California

"We’ve got the people who can ride the breaks and a reliable leader in Lawson. We had good expectations of Lawson in Pais Vasco, but our expectations were actually lower than his performance. Now we’re in line. He’s ready, the team is ready to support him." - DS Charly Wegelius

After a strong spring season, Lawson Craddock has been tapped as the team leader for the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team at the Amgen Tour of California.

Craddock has ridden a solid schedule with consistency up to this point: He lined up at the Ardennes classics and finished ninth at the Tour of the Basque Country in miserable weather. The Basque race is widely regarded as one of the harder races on the professional calendar. He finished third in California in 2014.

"I think Lawson earned his place as a real leader for this race in the spring. I think he’s got the papers in order to really go for the top result. That’s going to be our first priority, to support him," said head sport director Charly Wegelius.

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team will ride for the general classification, but will also look to cover breakaways with riders like Ben King and Toms Skujins, and the sprints with Wouter Wippert. Skujins, 24, won a stage at California last year.

“It’s going to be a tricky race to control," noted Wegelius. "There’s two very long stages and one stage at high altitude. But we’ve got the people who can ride the breaks and a reliable leader in Lawson."

"We had good expectations of Lawson in Pais Vasco, but our expectations were actually lower than his performance,” Wegelius added. "Now we’re in line. He’s ready, the team is ready to support him. This is what he’s been working toward with his results."

Craddock is looking forward  to the challenge of leading a WorldTour team. "The Amgen Tour of California is always one of my favorite races of the year," Craddock said. "My first year racing there was back in 2012 on Axel Merckx's Bontrager-Livestrong team. I've returned every year since then and have made some awesome memories including being on the final podium in 2014."

"I can't express how excited I am to return this year as one of the top American teams in the world. It will be an incredible experience, and we will make the best of it," Craddock added. "Looking at the team, it's easy to tell that we have one of the best overall group of guys heading to the race. There won't be a moment that we aren't prepared for. Being the leader in California is something that I really enjoy and take true to heart. I have a lot of experience at this race, and I am really looking forward to bringing that to the team to help achieve the best place possible."

The Texan pointed to two decisive days: the climb up Gibraltar above Santa Barbara on stage three and the individual time trial on stage six. “Those are two major GC days, but the race is very challenging as a whole this year. It will be very important to remain attentive for each stage this year as they are all days where it's possible to lose the race," Craddock said. "All in all, it suits us very well, and we are looking to mix it up at the front of the race."

Andrew Talansky will also race California. It’s a home race for Talansky, who lives in Northern California, and marks a chance for him to keep building toward the Tour de France in July. "Because it’s a home race it’s a good place to start again as the first step toward the second half of the season and fresh start. And home is a good place to do that. I think he has to have realistic expectations, too," Wegelius said.

Talansky has been at home training in California prior to now. "It is very nice to be back in Napa training at the moment and I’m really looking forward to kicking off Tour of California next weekend down south. ToC is the premier race in the U.S. at the moment and I am looking forward to lining up at the start with a great team. It’s always a special feeling to race on home roads," Talansky said.

He’s also looking forward to riding for Craddock. "Lawson has had a great spring campaign so far, I know he has been motivated for the Tour of California since he began training in the winter," Talansky said. "He has been on the podium before, so obviously he wants to improve that result by another couple steps. There’s not much to tell him, he knows when to stay relaxed and when to switch on. Lawson is very talented and a natural bike racer. He knows how to be at the front when he needs to be and he’s a fighter. We will have a great team there to support him and I have no doubt he is up to the challenge."

Talansky aims to keep building his way toward July. He said: "I am looking to continue building my fitness while supporting Lawson in his bid to win. The entire team will be looking to race aggressively and do all we can to put Lawson on that top step at the end of the week. If we can do that, and I can come out of the week stronger than I came in, then I will consider the Tour of California a success."

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for 2016 Amgen Tour of California: Patrick Bevin, Lawson Craddock, Phil Gaimon, Ben King, Alan Marangoni, Toms Skujins, Andrew Talansky, Wouter Wippert 

Direct Energie team for Tour of Picardie

Racers: Thomas BOUDAT, Lilian CALMEJANE, Jérémy CORNU, Yohann GENE, Tony HUREL, Julien MORICE, Alexandre PICHOT, Guillaume THEVENOT

Assistants: Alexandre BOUSSEAU, Mathieu CLAUDE, Yannick REBOUILLEAU

Mécaniciens: Olivier BOUHET, Vincent BRICHETEAU

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary