New team secured, Craig Lewis speaks about his time at HTC Highroad and his long search
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

New team secured, Craig Lewis speaks about his time at HTC Highroad and his long search

by Xylon van Eyck at 5:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
All of HTC-Highroad’s men said to have found places for next year

Craig LewisHTC-Highroad’s Craig Lewis has finally signed a deal for next year, bringing to an end a nerve-wracking search for a new team. VeloNation reached Lewis soon after he signed his contract and although he couldn’t name his destination as yet, he said he’d be based in Europe next season.

“I see myself as one of the leaders of the team I will be on next year. I know I am going to come back stronger and I am looking forward to having my own chances,” he revealed, with some excitement.

The American has spent the last four seasons with HTC-Highroad where he was seen in countless races riding on the front of the peloton in support of the team. Although Lewis has not had personal success in terms of individual victories, he was part of the team that won the team time trial in the Giro d’Italia this year and at the Tour de Romandie in 2009.

Other notable results was finishing eleventh in the Giro di Lombardia in 2008 and an eighth place finish on stage thirteen in the Giro d’Italia last year.

“I had an amazing time at Highroad,” he said, thinking about his time there. “When you look at the races we won and at the ever-changing roster throughout the four years, there is just nothing that will ever compare to that. I learned a tremendous amount about myself and the sport in general. I feel I developed greatly, maybe not so much for my benefit, but for the team's. I transformed from a climber with no power, to one of the better domestiques in the peloton.”

It was reported in recent weeks that Lewis and Caleb Fairly were the last from the Highroad stable to still find a team since the highly successful outfit are shutting its doors at the end of the season. Fairly has since also confirmed to VeloNation that he has found employment, although he was not at liberty yet to reveal the name of the team.

The lengthy search to find a ride for Lewis could well be attributed to a crash he sustained in the Giro this year. He showed great form and was always visible in the front until a fall on stage nineteen took him and teammate Marco Pinotti out of the race. The 26 year old fractured his femur and ribs and was forced to sit out a large part of the season, until making a miraculous return to racing in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August.

“I made the mistake of putting too much faith in the fact that the directors out there would remember what I did in the Giro before the crash,” he said, talking about that long wait. “I had a great race, but just because I was fighting to remain in the lead group to help my team-mate and just happened to hit an unmarked sign, everyone wrote me off and showed me no respect. It was disappointing on a lot of levels.”

With the employment search over, Lewis can now put a turbulent year behind him and focus on what lies ahead with the new team. It is expected that the identity of that squad will be revealed in the coming weeks.


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