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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España: Lawson Craddock, Simon Yates see boost in decisive time trial

Yates climbs into fifth overall while Craddock hits his second top-10 of the 2022 Vuelta.

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ALICANTE, Spain (VN) — Lawson Craddock laughed as the media horde was sweating profusely as they leaned at the finish line after the BikeExchange-Jayco rider blazed to sixth in Tuesday’s hot and muggy time trial at the Vuelta a España.

“This isn’t humid,” Craddock said with a laugh. “I was home in Texas after the Giro and there I was on the bike at 7 a.m., and it was already 98 degrees and 70 percent humidity.

Under a milder but still scorching Spanish sun Tuesday, Craddock and teammate Simon Yates both punched into top-10 on Tuesday to give the Aussie-backed team a boost.

Yates rode a very strong time trial to finish seventh at 1:42 behind stage-winner and leader Remco Evenepoel.

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That nudged Yates into fifth overall, now at 4:50 back at the Vuelta’s midpoint.

“It was a pretty solid TT for Simon. All the other GC guys are there about the same time, so he’s pretty happy with that,” BikeExchange-Jayco sport director Matt White told VeloNews. “Remco is clearly the strongest rider right now, and he’s in the box seat.

“There is still half the race to go,” White said. “Like every grand tour, people will have bad days, and people will be waiting.

“Any of those guys in the top-5 and someone can pounce. Simon didn’t want to lose so much time, but he’s still right there in the mix for the podium. So at the moment, that’s what we’re playing for.”

Craddock is also impressed with Evenepoel. who won the stage to widen his lead on the red jersey.

“The way Remco’s climbing now is impressive,” Craddock said. “He’s going to be hard to beat, and time trials are usually his strong suit over the past couple of years. You have to be fearful of what he can do on a stage like this.”

Craddock on sixth: ‘It’s an honor to wear the US jersey’

Lawson Craddock powered to his second top-10 of this Vuelta. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Craddock’s sixth in the TT was his best European ride against the clock since he was eighth in a Vuelta stage in 2021. Fifth in stage 5 at Bilbao after riding into the day’s winning break, Craddock is hitting strong form after racing the Giro d’Italia earlier this season.

“It was a straight-forward time trial,” Craddock said. “I put myself into a good rhythm that I thought I could hold. From there, it was hold on as long as I could.”

BikeExchange-Jayco gave Craddock the green light to race for the win rather than save his legs to help Yates on the climbs late this week. He was second-fastest behind Remi Cavagna until some of the faster GC riders came through in the final wave.

“Every time I get a chance to race my heart out I want to take full advantage, and I’m fortunate that I have the full support of the team that has a level of belief in me,” Craddock said. “We’ve had a great race so far in this Vuelta.

“We have high hopes for Simon,” he said. “Simon is one of the guys who’s won this race, and you cannot underestimate that he knows what it means to arrive to Madrid. This team prides itself in a great culture, and we haven’t panicked yet, and we’re looking forward to the next 10 days.”

Craddock raced in the U.S. national time trial jersey, something he’ll do again next mont at the world championships in Australia.

“Every time I pull this thing on I get pretty excited. It’s a huge honor to wear it. I am very proud to represent the United States, and heading into the worlds soon in Australia, it’s a good sign,” he said. “It’s a huge honor to race at the top level of the sport with the national jersey on my bike, and I don’t take it lightly.”