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Lawson Craddock’s victory celebration interrupted by car collision

USA Cycling's U23 team, Izegem, Belgium
Lawson Craddock in Belgium this spring Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Lawson Craddock wouldn’t let a little car/bike collision dampen his moment at last week’s Tour de Guadeloupe. The Trek-Livestrong rider was hit from behind by an official’s car immediately after he won the race’s eighth stage.

“I kind of hip checked the car, but the steel body of a Mercedes was a little too tough for me and I ended up on the ground,” Craddock told VeloNews.

Craddock was mid-celebration, hands over his head, when the commissaire’s car brushed him as it passed on the left. The 18-year-old Texan had been solo for 20km, but a chase group was closing and according to Craddock, the car passed meters beyond the finish to avoid the group coming from behind. Craddock slid onto his left hip, looking around confused. He made a split-second decision and went on celebrating.

“For about three seconds I didn’t know what happened,” he said. “I just looked over to all the fans and they were looking in shock. I was like, ‘Well, I could either make this really bad or really great.’ I just threw up my hands and the fans started cheering like crazy.”

Craddock said he felt no ill will toward the driver — the adrenaline of the win kept him positive. An apology was quickly forthcoming from the driver.

“I got a few Twitter followers from it, so it’s all been good,” said Craddock.

Craddock’s stage win was the second for the U.S. National Team, after national U23 champion Nathan Brown won the prologue of the 12-stage race in the Lesser Antilles archipelago off the Atlantic Coast of South America. Carter Jones won the best young rider’s jersey and finished third overall.

“It was the longest race any of us had done,” said Craddock. “We were just hanging on and taking it day-by-day.”

The UCI 2.2 Tour de Guadeloupe was not on the national team’s calendar before the Trek-Livestrong and Chipotle Development teams were removed from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge roster after complaints that their participation violated UCI rules. When organizers canceled their invitation to the Colorado tour Craddock said it took him days to refocus on training with a major objective removed.

“It was definitely a big blow,” said Craddock. “USA Cycling did what they do best and gave us the best program they could do. We really have to thank Jim Miller and everyone else… they immediately scrambled to find something for us to do and thankfully Guadeloupe came through.”

Guadeloupe came through and the national team did the same. Craddock was home in Texas on Tuesday, ready to reset ahead of a fall schedule that he hopes will include the U23 world championships in Copenhagen in October.

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