When Lawson Craddock crashed on the opening stage of the Tour de France, soldiered to the finish alone and then found out he had a fractured scapula in addition to his cut up eyebrow, he could have dropped out. Instead, the EF Education First-Drapac rider hatched a plan to add to his effort to raise money for his home velodrome in Houston.
The Alkek velodrome, where Craddock got his start in bike racing, was badly damaged in 2017's hurricane Harvey, and even before the Tour, he announced he would auction off a pair of custom shoes with the idea of raising a few hundred dollars to help repair the venue.
His well-publicised, painful fight to finish each stage came with a promise - he would donate $100 for each stage he finished to the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation that runs the velodrome. He also started an online fundraiser so that perhaps a few friends or fans might donate some more.
Instead, after five stages, the total was more than $40,000 - a sum that had Craddock floored.
"This morning I think it was close to 500 separate donations," Craddock said before getting the updated tally. "I think we're closing in on $40,000, which is absolutely mind blowing. I see that before the stage and it helps me to keep fighting for sure."
Craddock went deep on stage 3 in the team time trial, pulling through until the final few kilometres. He paid for that effort, saying that he suffered on Tuesday's stage to Sarzeau.
"Yesterday I was actually quite worried, my body was not having a good day," he said. "We did a lot of work on it - Matt Rabin, he's dug so deep in my shoulder which has really helped. I'm happy to make it to the finish for another day and it means another $100 for the Alkek velodrome."
He shrugged off any suggestion that what he was doing on the road was in any way heroic.
"I'm not a hero, no no no," he insisted. "The guys who are working on me and the people that are donating to the good cause for the velodrome, they're the heroes, not me. I just get inspiration from them."
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