Lawson Craddock‘s performance Wednesday in the Amgen Tour of California‘s 34.7km stage 4 time trial in San Jose delivered a dose of confidence for the 26-year-old American, who suffered through an off year in 2017 and finished a disappointing 49th – more than 10 minutes back – on the stage 2 climb up Gibraltar Road.
The EF Education First-Drapac rider went a long way toward banishing those bad memories on Wednesday, starting 48th out of 116 riders and setting the fastest time of the day up to that point. Craddock’s 41:33 unseated UAE Team Emirates’ Filippo Ganna from the top of the leaderboard, and it held for nearly half an hour before BMC Racing’s Paddy Bevin set a new best time of 40:54.
Bevin’s teammate Tejay van Garderen eventually crossed the line with the winning time of 40:47, and Team Sky’s Tao Geoghegan Hart knocked Craddock off the podium by 14 seconds. Nevertheless, Craddock took stock in his performance on a relatively lengthy power course at the WorldTour level.
“Any time you have a long time trial, a lot of power comes into effect, and fortunately I was able to put that down today,” he told Cyclingnews outside the team bus as the last handful of riders were still on the course. “I felt really good, and I put a lot of emphasis into this one day in the last few weeks.
“A time trial in America is not like a time trial in Europe,” he said. “It’s not just a lot of corners and it’s not technical. It’s really just who is the strongest, and when you have a 35km time trial, really what it is, is who’s the strongest.”
Craddock was obviously one of the strongest riders on Wednesday, and his time trial performance came after a concerted effort to improve his race against the clock.
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