Trek-Livestrong's Lawson Craddock will be a strong favourite in the upcoming US U23 road championships held as part of the USA Cycling national road championships from June 22-26 in Augusta, Georgia. Last year's junior phenom will participate in the all three U23 championships - time trial, criterium and road race - but will place a strong emphasis on Thursday's individual time trial.
"I plan on racing all three events with the time trial being my main focus," Craddock told Cyclingnews. "I've had a roller coaster year with time trials this year, but I hope to put that behind me and ride the best race that I can."
Lawson turned heads last year when he won four Junior national titles in the road race, time trial, criterium and track pursuit. He also placed third at the Junior Paris-Roubaix in France and won a stage at the Ster van Zuid Limburg in Belgium, won two stages and placed third in the overall at the UCI 2.2 Pays de Vaud in Switzerland, and won Germany's Nations Cup Trofeo Karlsberg.
He signed with Trek-Livestrong for the 2011 season as one of their newest Under 23 talents.
"I'm only a first year U23, so I hope to get the most experience as possible out of this year," Craddock said.
The USA Cycling Under 23 individual time trial will take place on Thursday, June 23 along an undulating 30km parcours. Craddock will be up against a handful of capable time trialists including his own teammates Joseph Dombrowski, Nathan Brown and Carter Jones.
The 60km criterium will be held on Friday, June 24 followed by the 168km road race on Saturday, June 25. Other strong Under 23 contenders include Chipotle Development riders Rob Bush, Max Durtschi, Danny Summerhill, Anders Newbury and Rob Squire along with BMC Racing Development rider Lawrence Warbasse.
"Trek-Livestrong has an extremely strong team this year," Craddock said. "For the road race and crit I hope to do as much for the team as I can, so we can bring home the stars-and-stripes.
"For the time trial, I'm going to go all out to try and be on the podium. It is an extremely competitive field this year, and it is going to be challenging."