Dan Craven – Pro Cycling’s Super Tourist
DOB – 1 February 1983
Nationality – Namibian
2019 Team – Team NCCS
Former Teams – Israel Cycling Academy, Team Europcar, Bike Aid-Ride For Help, Synergy Baku, Team IG-Sigma Sport, Rapha Condor Sharp
Career Achievements –
1st African Continental Road Race (2008), 5x Namibian National Road Race Champion (2016, 2015, 2008, 2006, 2005), GC Tour Du Senegal (2018), Tour du Cameroun (2014)
2nd African Continental Road Race (2013), African Continental TT (2006), Grand Prix Cristal Energie (2008)
3rd African Continental Road Race (2010), African Continental TT (2008)
4th GC La Tropicale Amissa Bongo (2015), Stage Vuelta Ciclista a Leon (2011), Stage FBD Insurance Ras (2010), Stage Tour of Rwanda (2010)
Cycling’s greatest tourist is the evergreen Dan Craven. At the moment he’s raced in 45 countries in a career that’s lasted almost 15 years. Crisscrossing the globe, he’s raced in plenty of the obvious European cycling countries but also the likes of Gabon, Republic of Congo and Mauritius. Craven has only taken part in one Grand Tour – the 2014 Vuelta and never raced a Monument so he’s not a household name.
Those who follow cycling a lot will have come across him though, particularly when it comes to representing his home country of Namibia.
You get the impression that Dan Craven enjoys the responsibility of representing Namibia. His sporting influence growing up is the same one that made me hear of Namibia for the first time when I was a kid – Frankie Fredericks. Fredericks was a top-class sprinter who finished runner-up in the 100 metres to Britain’s Linford Christie at the Barcelona Olympics. He never won a gold medal but took home 4 silver medals across the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Other than that, Namibia regularly takes part in the Rugby World Cup but their record is Played 19, Lost 19.
Craven made the move to Switzerland in 2005 after finishing university in South Africa, racing for Team Fidibc.com. He then spent 4 seasons racing in the UK between 2009-2012, representing legendary domestic team Rapha-Condor and IG-Sigma Sport. It’s after this spell, that the teams get more varied. 2013 was spent racing for Synergy Baku in Azerbaijan. The first half of 2014 for Bike Aid (a German team with strong African connections) before being snapped up by Team Europcar until the end of 2015. Then he spent 2 years at Israel Cycling Academy before spending 2018 on German team Embrace the World.
All in all, just 4 years at Pro Continental level but it gave him the opportunity to be the first Namibian to take part in any of the Grand Tours. This was the Vuelta a Espana in 2014 – finishing higher than the likes of Luke Rowe, David Millar, Carlos Betancur and Nathan Haas in the GC standings.
Dan Craven’s 2016 Olympics
So being one of the few global Namibian sports stars is something Dan Craven takes seriously, even if it means having a bit of fun sometimes. During the Olympic Road Race in Rio, Twitter became aware of a rider seemingly live-tweeting the race from within the peloton. It later turned out it was his girlfriend doing the tweeting but the whole thing gave Craven a load of new fans. The distinctive but awesome Rapha kit (seen above) also stood out.
Armed with more Twitter followers, the brutalness of that road race and the injuries it caused meant some starting spots opened up for the Olympic TT race. Dan asked if he should give it a go and was strongly encouraged to get out there. He hadn’t travelled to Brazil with a TT bike or any aero kit so he took part as if it was a roadman’s TT. He finished last, but only 11 seconds behind the Turkish National TT champion who was 34th and in aero kit, although he had been hurt in the road race in fairness. Nambia only had 10 athletes in the 2016 Olympics so the chance to represent his country further was a big deal to Craven.
The biggest win in his career arguably is the African Continental Road Race back in 2008. In Morocco, he raced solo. With no-one else on the Namibian team he was passed new water bottles by the South African women’s team at the side of the road. He takes the race seriously and has finished on each step of the podium with a 2nd place in 2013 and a 3rd in 2010.
He’s never won the African Continental time trial but still managed 2nd in 2006 and 3rd in 2008.
Craven’s achievements are all the more impressive given he suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a has had a pair of concussions in races 6 years apart. Throw in some viruses, picked up in China and Azerbaijan and Craven has done well to race as much as he has. He actively takes up the mantle of being a role model for African riders who want to make it at the highest level and being an advert for Namibia. At 36, there’s still time to race in a few more countries too.
Full list of countries Dan Craven has raced in
|Republic of Congo||2015|