American Lawson Craddock is using his return to the Tour de France as a platform to help his hometown of Houston, Texas, as it recovers from damage left behind in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which caused massive flooding across the city last year.
The 26-year-old EF Education First-Drapac rider announced on Twitter and Instagram that he will be auctioning a pair of custom Lake shoes, with the proceeds going to Houston's velodrome and its summer cycling series, which is named after the rider.
"While racing the Tour is something I’m stoked to do, I’m even more excited to announce a special project that I’ve been working on in collaboration with @lakecycling and the @alkek.velodrome's Lawson Craddock Youth Cycling League," Craddock wrote in his Instagram post.
"Take a look at the video for more details and stay tuned to learn when/how you can help the future of cycling!! A big thank you to @flobikes for working with me to put this together!! #HoustonStrong #TexasForever."
Craddock is joining forces with the team's shoe sponsor Lake Cycling to create a pair of "Houston Strong" shoes, which he'll be auctioning during the Tour de France, according to an article on Flobikes.com. Craddock wore the shoes in both the Tour of California and the Critérium du Dauphiné. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Lawson Craddock Youth Cycling League – the Alkek Velodrome's summer cycling programme.
"I was inspired by what a lot of Houston athletes, and just people in general, were doing just to help out their fellow Texans and Houstonians," Craddock said in a video interview with Flobikes' Ian Dille. "One of the biggest things I was excited about is that Lake agreed to auction off a pair of these shoes, with all the proceeds going to the velodrome and the Lawson Craddock Youth Cycling League, just to help them recoup some of the loss they experienced through Harvey."
The mostly black shoes feature the words "Houston Strong" in white block letters over the top of an outline of the Houston skyline. Craddock said he'll be posting a link to the auction soon.
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The 2018 Tour de France starts on July 7 and concludes on July 29 in Paris. Cyclingnews will have complete live coverage from the race, as well as race analysis, blogs, video highlights and podcasts from the team on the ground.