American espoirs shine at Triptyque in Belgium


The USA Cycling National Development Program U23 squad earned a pair of podium spots and more in Triptyque Mont et Chateaux’s stages 2 A and B on Saturday in Belgium. Lawson Craddock (Houston, Texas/Trek-Livestrong) had an amazing debut at the U23 level capturing the win in the morning’s time trial and leading out the sprint in the afternoon’s road race. Teammate Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./BMC Racing) also scored a bronze medal in the race against the clock.
Craddock prepares for his winning time trial ride.
Craddock prepares for his winning time trial ride.
Craddock, a two-time junior world championship time trial medalist, recorded the fastest time of the 147 riders in the morning’s stage 2A time trial; a 10:07 over the eight-kilometer course.
“So far it's been an awesome step up (to U23s),” stated Craddock. “It’s been a great trip and I'm really happy with the win in the time trial. The winds picked up a bit later; good for me, not so great for the other guys.'
Warbasse finished just 12 seconds behind Craddock to join him on the podium. Nathan Brown (Covington, Tenn./Trek-Livestrong) also scored a 14h-place finish and Gavin Mannion (Dedham, Mass./Trek-Livestrong) 20th, putting four Americans in the top 20 of the monster U23 field which includes the likes of Jetse Bol (NED/Rabobank), who won last year’s overall just ahead of Taylor Phinney and the USA Cycling team.
The afternoon’s stage 2B was another success with four American riders inside the top 12. On a few of the same climbs as tomorrow’s famed Ronde van Vlanderen (Tour of Flanders), the young Americans brought their own brand of excitement to the Flemish crowd. After driving back a late-race break with just over a kilometer to go, Craddock and Ryan Eastman (Petaluma, Calif./ Trek-Livestrong) attacked off the front of the final climb to the finish.
'Lawson and I were solo off the front,” explained Eastman, who finished 15th on Friday’s stage 1. “He led it out with one K to go and put me in perfect position. I think I probably had 10 or 15 seconds on the group and he just screamed go and I went all out to the finish. One guy came around me with 300 meters left. Then a couple of guys came around in the sprint but I held on for fourth. Just last week I think we did this climb three times, and the week before I think another three times. I know that climb really well. It’s been great living here in Izegem.'
Eastman’s USA Cycling National Development Program teammates Warbasse and Ian Boswell (Bend, Ore./Hot Tubes Development Cycling) also helped in the push up the climb and ended the stage in eighth and 12th places. Brownand Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle Development) also finished in the main group on the uphill charge, while Craddock ended up 98th and Mannion 126th after spending most of the early race off in a lead break.
‘They did a super job; I’d say it’s one of the best moves I’ve seen from Under 23s,” said Marcello Albansani, USA Cycling men’s U23 team director and a veteran of espoir cycling. ‘Craddock took him on his wheel and brought him to the last kilometer. It was a super tactic. He couldn’t pull out the win, but for me it doesn’t matter because it was a huge move and they did a really, really good job. We had a fantastic day today overall.’  
The seven-man USA Cycling squad will complete the 2011 Triptyque Mont et Chateaux on Sunday with a 162.8-kilometer road race from Château de Beloeil to Tournai.
View photos in USA Cycling’s National Development Program photo gallery.
Triptyque Mont et Chateaux
April 1-3, 2011
Stage 2A Time Trial – 8-kilometer
1. Lawson Craddock (Houston, Texas/Trek-Livestrong) 10:07
2. Jans Vandenbogaerde (SOE) +0:09
3. Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./BMC Racing) +0:12
14. Nathan Brown (Covington, Tenn./Trek-Livestrong) +0:26
20. Gavin Mannion (Dedham, Mass./Trek-Livestrong) +0:28
26. Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle Development) +0:30
32. Ian Boswell (Bend, Ore./Trek-Livestrong) +0:32
76. Ryan Eastman (Petaluma, Calif./ Trek-Livestrong) +0:53
Stage 2B Road Race - 120.7-kilometers
1. Rasmus Goldhammer (DEN) 2:46:18
2. Jonas van Genechten (WBC) +0: 02
3. Jonathan Femeaux (ARH) +0:03
4. Ryan Eastman (Petaluma, Calif./ Trek-Livestrong) +0:03
8. Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./BMC Racing) +0:07
12. Ian Boswell (Bend, Ore./Trek-Livestrong) +0:07
34. Nathan Brown (Covington, Tenn./Trek-Livestrong) +0:22
48. Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle Development) +0:31
98. Lawson Craddock (Houston, Texas/Trek-Livestrong) +1:36
126. Gavin Mannion (Dedham, Mass./Trek-Livestrong) +3:38

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