HOUSTON - When the Olympic games begin, in Tokyo, next month, a Houston man will be among the athletes representing the United States.
For Lawson Craddock, the trip from pedaling local roads to potential Olympic glory has been a life-long dream.
He got word as he raced with his EF Education First Pro Cycling Team in the recent Criterium du Dauphine. As Craddock, literally, had the pro peloton chasing him through the mountains of Southeast France, he got a middle-of-the-night phone message with an invitation to compete on a global stage.
"When you do hear the congratulations, it's just a wave that comes over you," says Craddock.
The 29-year-old pro is one of two men selected to represent the United States, at the Tokyo Olympics, in the road cycling events.
After COVID-19 canceled much of last year's racing, and early-season struggles, Craddock was concerned he might be overlooked on the list of potential racers. All he could do, he says, was push himself.
"For me, doing that and racing well in the Dauphine, showing what kind of rider I know I am, was just affirmation for myself, more than anything else," he says.
The effort appears to be paying off. Craddock made his comment from Tennessee, where USA National Championship races are being held.
Thursday, he was the winner of the time-trial competition. It's a warm-up, he hopes, to something greater in Japan.
"It's a huge honor and a 'dream come true' getting that phone call saying 'hey...congrats you've made the Olympic team," says Craddock, "But, at the end of the day, the goal isn't just to make it to the Olympics. It's to go there and perform and do yourself and your country proud."
Lawson Craddock has one more national road race, in Tennessee. When complete, he'll return to his wife and children, in Spain, where he lives and trains, to prepare for his trip to Tokyo.