Keegan & World Tour

I’m curious, does anyone know if world tour teams have ever approached Keegan? He is just becoming so dominant, I would be surprised if no one has tried to get him. I know he’s not a roadie but they have done similar things before. If I remember correctly, Jumbo was trying to get Strickland and he wasn’t remotely as dominant as Keegan. I could see Keegan becoming a GC contender.

EF were trying to get Strickland, on a neo-pro contract, because Vaughters saw a potential opportunity to use him at PR.

Keegan doesn’t have the same build or Watts for the cobbles I imagine, he’s a small dude.

There have been a few MTB riders picked up on proper contracts, but generally from the World Cup circuit (and pointy end at that).

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He hadn’t been approached (or wasn’t able to disclose) a few months ago on Ted King’s podcast but said it’s something he would consider. The challenge would be a WT being willing to take the chance and shell out the $$$ required to make it worth him leaving his current gig behind. While that kind of money would be reasonable if he was a big time winner, you wouldn’t know that until 1-2 years in most likely, so it’s not a chance a team is likely to want to take.

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Yeah, good point, they had a specific use case for Strickland.

As for cobbles, no that wouldn’t be Keegan, but I could see him as a GC rider. He has a similar build to Pogacar, not as high of a threshold likely, but he also hasn’t been training at that level. It would just be very cool to see what he could do.

I think Keegan could be a WT rider, but he’s a dominant XCM/Gravel racer.

I guess it all comes down to what a team were to offer him.

I’d like to see him have a crack at the XCM World series. I don’t know if LTGP will continue, possibly XCN racing isn’t lucrative enough though

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He’s a great rider but WT has way more depth than the domestic scene in all disciplines. Also, if he got a contract, he would go from being a winner and nationally known to mostly likely a largely unknown domestique. That’s just the way it is in most cases. There is also lots of politics about who gets contracts. Lots of strong riders don’t

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I wonder at this point if Keegan would even want to. Seems like he’s having a blast, and being dominant at the areas he is choosing to race, and he is not racing against slow riders either. He fits here, and it would be a bit sad to see him give this up to go be a pack rider in the WT.

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What age is he? Being UK based ive no idea who he is.

He’s 28 I think. For a long time he was trying to perform at the WC XCO races, but was never really able to crack the top 20 at that. However over the pandemic, he seems to have switched to long distance stuff, and has really excelled at it. Basically the only thing he has not won this year, was the 200 mile gravel race Unbound, and he was 2nd at that. He’s very good at the long distance stuff, but I’m not sure whether he has the punch at the end that’s needed for most road racing.

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And why give up the privateer life? I bet Santa Cruz really wants to keep him on. He makes his own schedule. Doesn’t have to travel internationally unless he wants to. Gets to sleep in his bed a lot more than he would if he was on a world tour team. Gets to see Sophia a lot. Keep living the good life

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Just my opinion obviously but WTH would he want to be a world tour rider? Be told by your team where you can race, what you can do in your off season, have one bad year and be at risk of losing your job, and most US sponsors could give two craps about what you’re doing in the world tour or the world MTB circuit.

I’ve been saying this for a while and I remember saying it about Howard Grotts. US sponsors and fans care much more about a US rider winning Leadville, an Epic Rides race, or now a gravel race than finishing 10th in a world cup somewhere in Europe that may or may not be on some streaming service.

These US riders have much better coverage just racing domestically. I’d rather see Keegan racing in the US than pulling on a few climbs for Primoz Roglic in the Tour. I pay way more attention to the US gravel and MTB races than the Tour. I haven’t watched a tour stage in years but I spent time looking for coverage of the gravel races this year.

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Actually, I wonder how many WT riders look at Keegan’s current gig with a bit of curiosity and desire (mid pack domestiques) ? Given how dominant he is becoming in an ever-important area for bike manufacturers, I bet they’re going to throw big numbers at that kid when his current contract is up. Easy guy to cheer for, as he seems like a very likable person in the TR podcasts.

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A GC contender? Because he’s winning domestic gravel races in the US?

Do people not understand just how rare GC contenders are?

There are approximately 5 ‘real’ grand tour GC contenders living on the planet. They are extraordinary amongst the already extraordinary…

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I think a few people noticed Jonas coming 2nd in the Tour de France last year…

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Vingegaard didn’t show up at the Tour to ride for Roglic. Rog may have been plan A going in, but V was there to win.

I don’t know about that. The pro peloton is stacked with talent, take e. g. MvdP and WvA. Van der Poel arguably competed for gold in the Olympics, yet he “only” won a single GT stage this year in the Giro. Despite that he struggled in this year’s TdF. Even a talent like him who has dominated CX for the last 7 years and is very strong in XC mountain biking faces very stiff competition on the road. Keegan would likely fare worse.

Most likely, he’d be a domestique on a hard schedule, far away from the people he loves. He’d have to play the contract carousel every two years or so. I’m not sure if he wants a family, but if he does, that’d likely delay that. If I were him, I’d rather have the life he has now. Lastly, I think gravel riding and (ultra) endurance events is where interesting things happen in cycling. There are no stupid UCI rules that take the fun out of it. As an average Joe or Jane you can literally participate in the same events as the pros. Just imagine if the TdF had a master’s field starting behind the pros. You want to run a hardtail mountain bike on Unbound or a gravel bike to compete in Leadville? Sure, why not.

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I remember reading in David Millar’s excellent book “The Racer” about Ryder Hesjedal and his migration from successful MTB rider to WT roadie. David describes it in terms of his cars: going from expensive, souped-up, bling-mobiles like a young guy with tons of cash would have, to a complete piece of crap cheap car that a newbie roadie on a pittance contract would be able to afford. I guess it all worked out in the end for him but i can imagine someone not wanting to give up a very good life for a punt on another possibility of a very good life via a certainty of a pretty crappy one.

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It would be interesting to compare Keegan’s power profile to a world tour rider or even GC contender. I doubt he is too far off.

If anyone has the time to do the research…

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Keegan is about 6 W/kg if memory serves, i. e. in the ballpark of a WT road rider. But on the other hand, his power profile probably wouldn’t stand out either. I know it might sound harsh and rude, I don’t mean to be.

Plus, the demands of road races are quite different. Bike handling plays less of a role on the road whereas in mountain biking this is a crucial skill, so it’d be more difficult to exploit his talents and relative strengths in the bike handling department. And I reckon they just might be less fun for him. E. g. have a look at van der Poel: he went to the Olympics to get a medal in mountain biking, not in the road race. Perhaps Keegan feels the same?

Who’d want to ride road over MTB? Ew.

Joking aside, surely his natural route would be to go to world XCC/XCO, rather than Road WT?

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