Craig Lewis targeting stage victory in USA Pro Cycling Challenge
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Craig Lewis targeting stage victory in USA Pro Cycling Challenge

by VeloNation Press at 7:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
American rider and compatriot Chris Butler head Champion System team

Craig LewisEncouraged by a stage win in June’s Tour de Beauce, American rider Craig Lewis is heading into the USA Pro Cycling Challenge aiming to take a victory on a bigger stage.

The Champion System rider has returned to good form over a year after he fractured his femur in the Giro d’Italia, and knows that success in the Colorado race would be a major boost both to the Continental team and his career.

“I'd really like to get a stage win,” Lewis said, outlining what he felt was possible to chase. "I don't think I'll be fighting for the overall, so to be on the attack on a few key stages will be the goal. I'm not sure which stages yet, as we will have to see how the race is unfolding the first couple of days.”

The 27 year old former HTC Highroad rider rode aggressively in last week’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, attacking on stage four and being part of a group of riders who were clear for almost the entirety of the 214 kilometre stage. They were finally reeled in 800 metres from the line.

Lewis obviously rues the missed chance, but said that he had good sensations.

“I suffered through the heat the first few days, but I came around nicely towards the end,” he said. “Being out there and showing off the Champion System jersey in that breakaway on Stage four was by far the highlight. Other than that, I tried not to tax my body too much in hopes of recovering quickly for the USA Pro Challenge.”

He will be joined on the squad by fellow American Chris Butler, who showed solid form with sixteenth overall in the race. Both competed in the event last year and know what it entails. Also part of the Champion System team will be Australians Will Clarke and Cameron Wurf, the German Matthias Friedemann and the Chinese trio of Pengda Jiao, Biao Liu and Gang Xu.

The team’s general manager Ed Beamon expects things to play out differently than at the Utah race. “Although there are a couple of very hard days, I don't think this race will be as cut-and-dried,” he said. “I think there will be more opportunities for breakaway scenarios that could potentially have more of an impact. But with the final time trial, the general classification will be more dependent on the time trial than Utah was.”

The race begins Monday in Durango. Three of the seven stages feature uphill finishes.

Champion System Pro Cycling Team USA Pro Challenge Roster (Aug. 20-26):

Chris Butler (USA), Will Clarke (AUS), Matthias Friedemann (GER), Pengda Jiao (CHN), Craig Lewis (USA), Biao Liu (CHN), Cameron Wurf (AUS), Gang Xu (CHN).

Director: Ed Beamon (USA).


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