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Craig Lewis, Tejay Van Garderen lead HTC-Highroad at Flèche Wallonne

Craig Lewis and Tejay Van Garderen will play key roles for Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne for HTC-Highroad.

Craig Lewis and Tejay Van Garderen will play key roles for Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne for HTC-Highroad.

Rather than wait for the final climb of the Mur de Huy, the team will be looking for long-range attacks to make their mark.

“We’ve got a strong squad of all arounders, but we haven’t really got a rider to make the all-out, uphill acceleration on the Mur that so often makes a difference in this race,” explains HTC-Highroad sports director Valerio Piva in a team report. “So we’ll adapt our strategy and we’ll be looking for breaks from much further out. Each of the climbs earlier on offers a great opportunity for moves to form, and we’ll want our riders to make the most of them.”

If Fleche Wallone did come down to a large group at the foot of the Mur de Huy, Piva says the team will be working once again for Michael Albasini, a former top-ten finisher in the race.

“Michael has good form but he was very unlucky at the Amstel Gold Race (on Sunday), he punctured just before there was a big crash in the last hour and the road got blocked,” Piva said. “He got back on again to the main group, but at that point in the race you always pay a high price for any extra effort and he couldn’t quite stay up there at the end. Hopefully, though, Wednesday’s race will have a different outcome.”

HTC-Highroad for Fleche Wallonane: Michael Albasini (Swi); Caleb Fairly (USA); Patrick Gretsch (Ger), Craig Lewis (USA);  Tony Martin (Ger); Marco Pinotti (Ita); Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Byl);  Tejay Van Garderen (USA).