What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lawson Craddock Escapes Contract Termination After Being Photographed On Wrong Bike

American cyclist Lawson Craddock faced contract termination after being pictured on a bike other than his Cannondale trade team machine recently. Craddock is now the second EF-Education Nippo rider to be approached by the possibility of having his contract voided for such an infringement.

Photo via: Wikimedia Commons

The 29-year-old was photographed on a Giant road bike at a Mellow Jonny’s event in Texas last weekend and even shared them on social media, though deleting them later.

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As popular as it’s become, cycling is pretty strict when it comes to branding, and riders are strongly urged not to ride bikes other than those bearing the markings of their sponsors.

Craddock has signed on with Team BikeExchange for 2022 and, while they haven’t announced that Giant will supply their bikes, it’s expected that a deal with the Taiwanese manufacturers will be announced after the turn of the year. For the time being, they remain under contract with Bianchi.

It’s reported that the rider in question was given the bike by Giant in the United States and not through his 2022 trade team. The latter would have at least covered up the logos in case Craddock was photographed, which turned out to be just what happened.

Cyclingnews reached out to BikeExchange for comment but was turned down. EF-Education Nippo, though, has confirmed they “treat all riders the same” and are “working to find a good resolution for everyone.”

It’s since been announced that the parties have found common ground and the rider has contacted Cannondale, as well as the team, with an apology.

“The team has come to an amicable agreement with Lawson Craddock regarding his riding of a non-team bike at a recent public event, and Craddock has reached out to our partner Cannondale and the team to apologize,” the team told the aforementioned publication. “We look back on our six seasons with Lawson fondly and wish him the best in the future.”

The incident surrounding Craddock comes on the back of another departing EF rider in Sergio Higuita being recorded on a Bora-Hansgrohe Specialized bike at Gran Fondo in Colombia. Higuita, who hails from Colombia, was handed a letter of intent to have his contract terminated this week before he issued a public apology.

The team subsequently indicated that the rider would not be fired but did not confirm or deny whether he was fined or docked wages for the last two months of his contract.

While players are not permitted to be on bikes bearing the logos of other manufacturers apart from their team sponsors, there have been exceptions. In such instances, riders are allowed to use the bikes they will be riding in the future while training at home but that typically requires written agreements from teams.

 In Higuita’s case, he is set to move to Bora-Hansgrohe next season and had no permission to be out on their bike. He issued an apology for riding the wrong bike at a public event after his team threatened to terminate his deal prior to him leaving for pastures new.

At the time, EF said the gesture “lacked respect for the partners that support him today” but that it was hopeful over the rider coming up with an amicable solution. Higuita acknowledged his mistake, bringing an end to the team’s intent to sever ties prematurely.

 “The team has come to a mutual agreement with Sergio Higuita regarding the recent issue at Giro de Rigo and will not end his contract early,” EF said in a statement. “He has been a steadfast teammate and positive presence, both on the roads and off. We wish Sergio the best in his future endeavors.”

Riders do test new equipment prior to a new season, before moving to another team but doing so publicly is what prompts the ire of teams. Fortunately, the situation was able to be resolved with an apology.

 “I wish to offer my apologies to all the sponsors and to the team. I made a mistake in riding the wrong bicycle at a public event, but this is not how I want to leave this team or remember my time here,” Higuita remarked out of contrition.

“I’ve helped my teammates to the best of my ability, won some beautiful races, and made friends with the staff and riders that will endure. I’m happy we could come to an agreement, and I wish the team luck in the seasons ahead.”

The Colombian’s time at EF is coming to an end after three seasons. He joined in May 2019 after a stint with Continental Team Fundacion Euskadi, where he won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana and finished second overall at the Tour of California the same year. He finished third in Paris-Nice last year and was third at the end of a stage of the Tour de France this year.

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