Landing on the final podium at last year’s Amgen Tour of California was a major breakthrough for Lawson Craddock, a sign of what’s to come from the talented Texan. The third place finisher was the top American and winner of the Best Young Rider competition. Brimful of promise, the 22-year-old Team Giant-Alpecin rider launched his 2015 campaign last month at the Santos Tour Down Under, the WorldTour season opener. Unfortunately, Craddock crashed out in stage 4 breaking his wrist, sternum and a rib. Presently, he’s back home in Austin, Texas convalescing.
Great news: Amgen Tour of California stage 5 winner Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is back on the bike after sustaining two fractures to his lower left leg and injuring his knee on Memorial Day last month at the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship. But it’s only a stationary bike for now.
It was great to hear Taylor Phinney’s enthusiastic voice this morning on a media conference call from the Park City Medical Center in Park City, Utah where the U.S. National Time Trial Champion continues his recovery from the broken left tibula that he sustained Memorial Day during the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional National Road Race Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
28-year-old Jesse Anthony of Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies is riding into his prime as a professional cyclist. The spiritually-inclined former cyclo-cross champion has a refreshingly healthy and balanced outlook along with an affable, down-to-earth nature, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a fierce and potent all-rounder who has won big stage races in the past (Nature Valley Grand Prix). Training for his fourth Amgen Tour of California start where he will be one of Optum’s leaders, the Newton, Mass. native now calls Thousand Oaks, Calif. home. He rides the challenging Stage 8 circuit several times each week thus he is the perfect person to provide insight into this year’s final stage.
California resident Peter Stetina welcomes the pressure of being team leader at the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. With his teammate and last year’s champion Tejay van Garderen electing not to defend his title to focus on training for the Tour de France, the 26-year-old in his first season with BMC Racing after eight seasons with Garmin-Sharp assumes the mantle of leadership. The Colorado-born Stetina, who lives in Santa Rosa where the team is headquartered, is prepping for only his second California rendezvous. He raced ATOC in 2010 and spent the last few editions racing the Giro d’Italia. Stetina will return to the Golden State next month with this race at the top of his list of goals for this season. Cycling is his family’s lineage as his father, Dale, and uncle, Wayne, both raced professionally. Racing in France this week at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Stetina took time to answer the Insider’s questions.