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"I found out I liked these type of races the most. This is what I’m training for — to be good in these races. They’re WorldTour and important for the team."

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EF PRO CYCLING

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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LAWSON CRADDOCK

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LIÈGE - BASTOGNE - LIÈGE

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MICHAEL WOODS

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NATHAN BROWN

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SIMON CLARKE

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TOM-JELTE SLAGTER

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TOMS SKUJINŠ

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19.04.2016 @ 20:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Cannondale Pro Cycling Team heads into the remaining Ardennes races with a balanced squad, aiming for strong results on the Mur de Huy and on the line at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
 
Tom-Jelte Slagter remains the ace for the team due to his experience in the punchy classics, though Alex Howes, Lawson Craddock and Simon Clark are capable of doing some damage, too.
                                              
The parcours of Flèche and Liège are vastly different, though similar riders generally feature at the sharp end of both. Cannondale Pro Cycling Team is well suited to the terrain.
 
“I think the race has changed — it’s quite hard. It’ll be interesting for us,” sport director Johnny Weltz said. “We have a lot of young guns there. We just need to see how to get the best out of it.”
 
Howes is fresh off a nice ride in the all-day break at Amstel Gold Race where he was the last man standing from the escape and the best-placed finisher for Green Argyle while Craddock finished ninth in one of the season’s most brutal stage races, the Tour of the Basque Country. Slagter has keen awareness of these roads and winds.
 
“I like this area, specifically the climbs. I did these roads and climbs when I was younger for training and some races in juniors and u23s. I found out I liked these type of races the most. This is what I’m training for — to be good in these races. They’re WorldTour and important for the team,” Slagter said. “We have a good team here to do good results. The two are very different races. Both of very hard. Liège is a classic length, 260k, but if I look to Flèche, that finish climb, that suits me well.”
 
Weltz agrees.
 
“If it turns out to be a lot of wind, he’ll have the benefit of knowing the better way to place himself,” the sport director said of Slagter. “On the other hand, the way Alex rides now, the way Craddock rides now, if we can get them to a safe place before the climbs they could do something, too.”
 
The Ardennes races are nervous affairs, often raced in inclement weather. It hailed during Amstel, and though the weather is clear for Flèche, that doesn’t mean it’s any walk in the park.
 
“It's a high speed game of chicken in every corner — it’s so nervous,” said Ben King. “It’s not a stage race. You can’t correct your mistake the next day.”
 
Howes looks to be recovered from his long break at Amstel in plenty of time for Liège, one of his better-liked races and the oldest of the major races on the calendar.
 
“Liege is like racing on old battle grounds. World War II tanks around. It’s a legitimate classic. It’s hard racing,” he said. “I think in a lot of ways it’s probably harder than Roubaix. … It’s a weird feeling. The motor’s been going so long it feels weird to turn the motor off, but at the same time you wanna be done so bad,” Howes said the sensations at the finish of the oldest one-day race on the calendar.
 
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for La Flèche-Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Nathan Brown
Simon Clarke
Lawson Craddock
Alex Howes
Ben King
Toms Skujins
Tom-Jelte Slagter
Michael Woods

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