Craig Lewis, who at the tender age of twenty five, has been a pro for six years, will ride his seventh, hopefully his lucky seventh, year, with his squad of the previous three, HTC-Highroad.
Lewis, who has proven himself a rider who can support sprinters on the flats and still ride at the front in the mountains, has been developing as a hilly classics rider and stage racer, being competitive and an essential part of his team’s strategy at every race he pins on a number. While not a star, yet, he’s been progressing steadily. If you haven’t noticed him it’s because, as a member of the world most successful racing team, it’s hard to stand out.
Last year, he rode the Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour, supported team sprinter Andre Greipel on the sprint stages still was able to ride at the front in the mountains. His best result was an eighth place after a long breakaway on stage 13, where he attacked the break with 1,500 meters to go and was only reeled in with a scant 100 meters to the line.
When asked about Lewis, team manager Rolf Aldag said, “Craig showed some good improvement in 2010, with finishing the Giro d’Italia. He made another step forward in his personal development and beside that he is a very reliable team player, always ready to help his team leaders in the interest of the team success. We expect him to be one of our key riders in our team when it comes to long climbs in one-day classics and hard stages races. Craig was very close to win a stage in the 2010 Giro, which gives him the confidence that he is able to stay with the best.”
HTC is betting that Craig will be able to take the successes of 2010 and build on them for an even more successful 2011. On his race program is a return to Pais Vasco, the Ardennes classics week, and a second shot at the Giro, where he’ll be riding in support of both sprinter Mark Cavendish and general classification contender Konstantin Svitsov, but will have the green light to go for stage wins if the opportunities present themselves. He’ll also go stateside to ride in the Tours of Colorado and Utah, where he could well have the chance of riding for himself in pursuit of general classification glory.
Looking forward to 2011, Lewis says, “The team offers me the best tools to reach my goals and they always secure invites to all of the biggest races. There isn’t much more you could ask for. Specialized will be an exciting company to work with, and I really enjoy working with each of the staff we have. It is just a great group.”