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Lawson Craddock: ‘The 2018 season definitely needs to be different from 2017’

Lawson Craddock had a down year in 2017 and looks to prove in 2018 that he deserves to ride in the WorldTour.

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NANNING, China (VN) — American Lawson Craddock’s “2018 season definitely needs to be different” after overdoing it in 2017.

Craddock, who recently re-signed with Cannondale-Drapac for 2018, began the 2017 season too hot and paid the price.

“Yeah, it definitely needs to be different in 2018!” Craddock told VeloNews. “It’s been a pretty rough year for me both on and off the bike.

“Honestly I’m just looking to ending this year on a decent note and coming back next year and showing what I’m capable of, which is a pretty high standard I hold myself too.”

Craddock sat waiting for the team’s meeting ahead of stage two of the Tour of Guangxi in South China. He listened to the sports director and prepared for his final race of 2017.

This 2017 season he had hoped to perform with the best in the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France, but over-training and over-dieting left him exhausted.

“This year, it’s not like I had a weird issue, I was just too motivated early on in the year and over-cooked it,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you keep trying to come back and you aren’t prepared to do so. And some personal stuff too.

“I know I’m capable of great things in this sport. I’ve shown a glimmer of that before. I like to come out and show that I can be there with the best. And I know I can be there with the best. I’ll just focus on what I need to do to do that.”

The 25-year-old Texan raced professionally with Giant-Sunweb for 2014 and 2015. He joined Cannondale-Drapac for 2016. In those seasons, he rode the Tour de France, placed third and fifth overall in the Tour of California, and ninth overall in the País Vasco. In 2017, he expected more of the same, or better.

After a disappointing start, he tried to reach his best in time for the Tour of California in May. That ended with only 113th overall. Other races ended with a DNF – did not finish – beside his name.

“It just hasn’t been an easy year all around. If anything, it’s given me a chip on my shoulder to come back and prove next year that I do belong in the top-level of this sport.”

Craddock signed a one-year extension with the Slipstream Sports team, which came back from near collapse thanks to new sponsor EF Education First. He is due to meet with the managers this winter to discuss his race schedule. He maintains high ambitions.

“I’d love to get a victory because I still haven’t won a race yet in four years of the WorldTour. It’s not easy, for sure,” he added. “I want to have a good result in the early spring races like País Vasco and try to go for something at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and find myself back in the Tour de France and maybe go for a stage win there.”

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