After travelling from Italy to Poland via Knoxville, Tennessee and Texas in the last couple of months, Lawson Craddock doesn't yet know where his racing program will lead him this autumn, but the BikeExchange-Jayco pro has high hopes that three weeks in the Netherlands and Spain will be a large part of it.
After racing the Giro d'Italia with Simon Yates this May, Craddock is aiming to put a second Grand Tour in his legs this year at the Vuelta a España, which starts in Utrecht in Holland on August 19th and where the Australian squad is likely to be led by Yates again.
In between May and July came a second straight US National Time Trial victory for the American, in which he narrowly defeated Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers). Craddock will give the corresponding jersey he received for that win its first official outing on Thursday in the Tour de Pologne time trial.
"This has been a good re-start for me, I was back in Texas for quite a while after the Giro, it was really nice and I enjoyed some time there over the summer with the family," Craddock told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 4.
"We got back to Europe about two weeks ago, so I've just been doing my racing here in the Tour de Pologne so far and I can't really complain. It's been a really nice race so far, a great way to start the second half of the season."
"Stage 3 went really well for the team, we had two guys [Lucas Hamilton and Matteo Sobrero - Ed.] in the front group and that's set us up well for the overall."
As for Thursday's short, very punchy 11-kilometre effort, Craddock says that he is not wholly certain that it'll favour him as he tends to do better in time trials where the average speed is a bit lower.
"But it's short and intense so I think the results will be more focused on power output. So it'll be a really good test of my legs, and in fact, this whole race will be a great test of how things work out for later."
Top of that 'for later' list, of course, is a possible ride in the Vuelta a España. Craddock confirms he's on the long list for BikeExchange-Jayco, but "things won't be decided until a little later."
"I'd absolutely love to do the Vuelta. But I feel like I'm in a really good place with the team, and wherever that takes me, I'll do it."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The Independent, The Guardian, ProCycling, The Express and Reuters.