Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsDan Craven - Ten Year Plan

Dan Craven – Ten Year Plan

-

It’s not everyday that we have the African champion racing on Scottish roads so when we met Dan Craven of Rapha/Condor after his fine third place at the recent Drummond Trophy, we thought we’d better make the most of it.

Dan was recently the subject of the ‘big interview’ in Cycling Weekly, so we steered clear of subjects already raised by our chums at ‘The Comic.’

Dan Craven
Dan in his national champion’s jersey. Photo©Ed Hood

Where’s home, in the UK, Dan?

“A flat in Manchester, it’s in close proximity to John Herety (Rapha/Condor manager) and I share with my team mates, Ben Greenwood and Rob Partridge.”

What do you think of the British weather?

“Everyone is telling me that the weather is good here for the time of year, it’s reasonably similar to what I was used to in Switzerland at this time.

“I have to tell you though; I was petrified at the thought of the British weather before I got here!”

And the food?

“I’m used to English dishes from back home, in Namibia. We share the cooking in the flat and try to make good food for ourselves; it’s not Italian food, but I’m happy so far.”

What do you like about UK racing?

“I like the fact that we speak English and I can be myself, that’s the culture I grew up with.

“In Namibia, I went to a German school and the town we lived in was Afrikaans ,but being here feels comfortable, new and exciting.”

Dislikes?

“With it being an island, it’s a lot more difficult to pop across to France to race; where I was in Switzerland it was only a two hour drive to all the top Italian races.”It’s also a pity that there are only two UCI races on the calendar here — the Rutland and the Tour of Britain.”

Who impresses you?

“Russ Downing, he won the Argus down in South Africa a few years ago, so he wasn’t new to me, but he’s obviously a quality rider.

“Halfords — Wilko and the boys; but I’m pretty chuffed with my own team, I have to say.”

You’ll be racing less than you were, last year?

“Last year was a bit weird, I didn’t race as much as you’d think; they brought in these strange rules about foreigners riding in Italy and there were a lot of times I couldn’t race.

“What is different here is that I’ll be riding a lot of criteriums, something I’ve never done before.

“I’m looking forward to our tours programme, though — we have the Tour de Beauce in Canada, the Qinghai Lakes in China, the Tour of Ireland and Tour of Britain to look forward to.”

Dan Craven
Dan has plenty of experience, racing at home, in Italy, and Switzerland.

What are the main differences between Swiss/Italian races and UK events?

“Racing here is similar to elite level in Switzerland in that it’s always the same people you’re riding against.

“There are more senior riders here, though — in Switzerland, you get to a certain age and you turn pro or quit.

“In Italy there’s an incredible depth of riders and teams; there are different tactics in every race, but here it’s always the same guys.”

You won the UCI ranked GP Cristal Energie — did that get any pro teams ‘sniffing?’

“Unfortunately not; I was in discussion with the planned H2O team, but they dragged their feet and eventually the team didn’t get off the ground.

“I was disappointed because as well as that win, I had some good results.”

How does Rapha compare to FiDiBC who you were with in Switzerland?

“It was an amateur team but run as a Continental squad, the two teams are similar in terms of organisation and equipment but Rapha is much stronger.

“In FiDiBC there was myself and one other rider who were strongest; here there are eight riders all on the same sort of level.”

Is the white African champ’s jersey you wear the official UCI sanctioned one?

“Yes, I’ve wondered about the significance of the coloured bands; but I’m afraid that I don’t know what they represent.”

What are your strengths as a rider?

“My weaknesses are that I’m not a great sprinter and I need to work on my cornering and descending!

“I like long, hard races; in the GP Cristal Energie, I was away all day in breaks from four kilometres out.

“I like successive tough hills, not mountain passes, but tough parcours where it’s a war of attrition.”

I would have thought you’d be a ‘natural’ for Barloworld.

“I would love to have ridden for them and we had some form of talks; there was a tiny chance and I always hoped, but nothing materialised.

“Then I had a poor season with bad luck and no results — the next season I was back on form, but they had lost interest by then.

What about the SKY team?

“Along with every other English speaking cyclist in the world, that would be my dream; but I’ve not done enough yet to make me stand out.”

Dan Craven
Dan finished third in the Scottish race, the Drummond Trophy, in 2009. Photo©Ed Hood

Goals for 2009?

“I had a lot of ideas for this season, but I had problems and the Drummond Trophy, where I was third, was the first of me starting to feel like myself.

“I have to prove myself, I’m not saying that I’ll win stages at the Qinghai Lakes or in Ireland, but I have to show myself — stand out.

“I really want to be in our Tour of Britain team, again I’m not going to say I’ll win a stage, but I want to get myself noticed.”

And your ultimate goals, in cycling?

“It all depends on this year; if I can get a contract with a big team, then I’d like to be pro for the next ten years.

“If I could make it onto a ProTour team, it would give Namibian and African cycling such a boost.

“I’ve already held training camps for young cyclist back home, but if I was riding for a big team than it would mean so much more.

“That would be my ultimate goal, to get established with a big team and help African Cycling as much as I can.”

We wish Dan every success with his goal and would thank him for his time and patience. Keep up with Dan’s travels and racing on his blog.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Daryl Impey – the First African Maillot Jaune

Chris Froome will go down in the record books as Great Britain’s second Tour de France winner. But whilst the slim man who now lives in Monaco may have GB next to his name in the record book – he’s originally from Kenya by way of South Africa and his win is a huge shot in the arm for cycle sport in the Dark Continent. But Froome was beaten to the punch as the first African in yellow by a man whose passport still declares ‘Republic of South Africa.’

Norrie Drummond – Reminiscing with Quality Trivia

It’s hard to believe but it’s now 13 years since VeloVeritas’ Belgium and East Europe archivist, Ivan and I drove through to Strathaven to meet Mr. Norrie Drummond, former racing cyclist of note in Auld Scotia and Belgium and patron of the Drummond Trophy Road Race, one of few remaining ‘landmark’ races in Scotland. We chatted to Norrie recently to hear some more stories about the old times...

Tom Southam – Enjoying the Best of Both Worlds

Amore & Vita, the sunshine and glamour of the Italian pro scene; scorching Australian road race championships; Girvan on a cold April Monday afternoon - Tom Southam has seen it all. We caught up with the man with esoteric musical taste on a cold February afternoon-after he'd just done three hours.

Dan Craven – Part Two; Namibia, Recent Teams and African Racing

With Dan Craven's recent hook-up with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar squad we thought it was high time we had another word with the man with the most hair in professional cycling, and we heard all it in Part One of our interview with Dan yesterday. In Part Two the conversation turns to Dan's home country of Namibia as we find out about the country and it's cycling, the growth of the sport on the African continent and we learn a little more about his previous teams.

Dan Craven – Part One; Team Europcar’s New Recruit

It’s been a while since last VeloVeritas spoke to former ‘Man in Black’ and African Road Race Champion, Dan Craven – 2009 to be exact, just after the Drummond Trophy which Dan rode for his Rapha Condor team. With his recent hook-up with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar squad we thought it was high time we had another word with the man with the most hair in professional cycling. This season has seen a win on GC in the Tour du Cameroon in the colours of German team, Bike Aid-Ride For Help. We caught up with Dan at his new home in the Vendee to talk African Cycling, Europcar – and big hair.

Mark West – the Welshman in Charge of Africa’s “Most Exciting” UCI MTB Team!

When we photographed the National Champion of Lesotho, Phetetso Monese in action at last year's Commonwealth Games MTB race in Glasgow, little did we know that key to his - and the nation's - burgeoning success was a Welshman, Mark West. Mark got in touch with us recently to ask if we'd be interested in hearing more about Monese's country and the background to his appearance on the Cathkin Braes and we jumped at the chance.

At Random

Freshly Glued Tubs – the British National Road Race Championships 2012

The nationals are one of my favourite events of the season. The race is strange because I have no specific job to do, no pulling on the front, no marking, no driving the break and no one to let down apart from myself. The first British Elite Championships I took part in were in 2008, somewhere in Yorkshire.

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2012

From the point that his Sky Procycling teammates took up station on the front of the peloton with 60km to go in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Mark Cavendish never looked like losing today, and so it proved as he swept to an easy bunch sprint win over FDJ-Big Mat's Yauheni Hutarovich with Vacansoleil-DCM's Kenny Van Hummel in third.

Scottish 100 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007

A chilly, breezy but rapid Sunday morning on the roads alongside the Cromarty Firth saw Shetland's Carlos Riise reclaim the Scottish 100 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007 title he last won in 2004, with a personal best 3-51-43. This was Carlos's eighth hundred title, the man who ended his run of seven straight wins and who took the title in 2005, Jonathan Copp (Deeside) was not riding, neither was last year's champion and current record holder, Mark Atkinson (Sandy Wallace).

Jim Cusick – The New Scottish 100 Mile TT Champion

"Cheers Ed! In pub at Evanton and had a few. Brought up touring bikes and off to Ullapool then Hebrides for a week. Reception poor but give it a try..." That was Jim Cusick's (Glasgow Couriers) reply to our congratulatory text message and interview request after he had just won his first 100 mile title on the familiar roads (if you're involved in Scottish testing) around the Cromarty Firth.

Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 17: Pau – Col du Tourmalet; Top Two Ahead, Big Gaps Behind

'Andy talks tough !' say the headlines, he did try his best yesterday, his men used whatever was left to drive up the lower part of the Col du Tourmalet - then he went for it. However, not for one moment did it look like Alberto Contador was under pressure.

Giro d’Italia 2007 – Day 1: Getting there

Giro d'Italia 2007. Sardinia is hot, damn hot, real hot, but our Peugeot 107 has air-con and a CD which plays John Hardie's 70's compilations just fine. It's 09.10 and we're north-bound to catch the ferry from Palau out to the island of Maddalena, where tomorrow's TTT takes place.