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Lawson Craddock sets Tour de France lanterne rouge record

EF Education First-Drapac rider was back-marker from start to finish - and has raised more than $225k for his local velodrome

EF Education First-Drapac rider Lawson Craddock has become the first rider in the history of the Tour de France to hold the position of Lanterne Rouge – the last man on the general classification – for the entire duration of the race in in doing so has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for a good cause.

The 26-year-old crashed on the opening stage of the race but remounted his bike to finish it and then needed stitches to be put in a laceration above his eye and was discovered to have broken his scapula.

He was determined to carry on with the race, however, and moreover resolved to raise money for a good cause – his local velodrome in Houston, Texas, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey in August last year.

“It’s been an incredibly testing three weeks,” Craddock said. “I’ve pushed myself well beyond my limits. There were many times during the race that I wasn’t sure if I could make it, but the encouragement and generosity the whole world has shown me motivated me every step of the way. To reach the finish line in Paris has been incredibly emotional.”

His ongoing participation in the race was a team effort, with the rider needing three chiropractic sessions each day, regular consultations with the team’s medical staff, as well as help from fellow riders and the EF Education First-Drapac sports directors.

He came up with the idea of raising money for the Alkek Velodrome on the night after the crash as something that would give him a target to aim at and “a way to turn a negative in a positive.”

Craddock decided to donate $100 for every stage he completed to the track where he first started racing and, through social media, challenged other people to donate.

The following morning, he awoke to messages from people asking how they could donate, so he set up a GoFundMe page, his story quickly going viral as it was picked up by media outlets worldwide.

He has now raised more than $225,000 – equivalent to more than $10,000 for every stage he rode – and it also helped give him the motivation to continue riding.

 “Without the fundraiser, I probably would have gone home a couple of weeks ago,” he explained. “Especially in the days immediately after the crash and in the recovery process, I drew a lot of motivation from the campaign. It’s going to change the future of the track.”

Jonathan Vaughters, the CEO of the team’s management company, Slipstream Sports, said: “It was a very selfless thing Lawson did – to stay in the race and to raise money for the velodrome he grew up racing on.

“Across the board, the team was also very selfless in supporting him on a day-to-day basis to get him through the race.

“From the first day, when he broke the scapula, from Pierre Rolland opening up gels for him to feed him at the very back to the incredible work our chiro did.”

He added: “In the end, it was down to Lawson’s grit and his determination. He did that with a lot of panache and a lot of honour.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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RobD | 5 years ago
1 like

Impressive to see that he's raised around 20x more money in sponsorship than the team one in prize money for the tour, seems like once Uran was out getting Lawson to the finish became the team's biggest priority. Hats off to them for riding for something bigger than just tour success.

sizbut | 5 years ago

... and the guy who just finished in yellow, started by finishing 140th and took 10 years to get to 1st. So if Lawson really has the determination to keep going, which he's kinda proven, anything's possible ...

Organon | 5 years ago

Well done chap. Except what is all this Chiropracty business. From what I've seen it is all neck cracking quackery. Is there any science to it?

pwake | 5 years ago

Looks like the Tour GC was bookended by the good guys this year!

This is typical of Lawson and his family. And, to give some perspective, the Alkek is run by a non-profit (Greater Houston Cycling Foundation) using volunteers; one of the local crit series here is the main fundraiser and generally raises around $5000 each year. So what Lawson has done is getting close to the equivalent of fifty years of funding for a facility that is a great environment for the develoment of future riders. Chapeau!

dave_t | 5 years ago
1 like

There are Heroes, then there are HEREOS. laugh

Fluffed | 5 years ago
dave atkinson replied to Fluffed | 5 years ago

fluffed wrote:

Link to his gofundme page

thanks, should have been in the article but got missed. i've added it now.

ktache | 5 years ago

For me, he was the hero of this tour.

CygnusX1 | 5 years ago


Craddock arguably gained more air-time for the sponsors of "EF Education First - Drapac  powered by Cannondale" than any of the others in his team. Almost every "arriere du peloton" camera shot featured his derriere! 


kil0ran | 5 years ago

I love sharing these stories with footy-supporting mates. The bloke is the very definition of the anti-Neymar.

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