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USA Cycling has exclusively told VeloNews that Keegan Swenson has been selected for the men’s race at the UCI Road World Championships (September 18-25).
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a hugely successful season off-road with wins in SBT GRVL, Leadville 100, and Crusher in the Tushar. He is also a multiple national mountain bike champion.
The versatile rider currently has a commanding lead in the Life Time Grand Prix series and will now get the chance to rub shoulders with Wout van Aert, Peter Sagan and Mathieu van der Poel in Australia later this month.
“This has proven to be an unusual year for World’s team selection. Between the WorldTour relegation battle and the daunting trip to Australia, our selection pool is far smaller than normal. I’m a big fan of the phrase ‘let no good crisis go to waste.’ And that’s why the selection committee made the decision to add Keegan to our Elite Road team,” USA Cycling’s CEO Brendan Quirk told VeloNews.
“We know he has a world tour engine, we know he’s not intimidated by anything or anyone. And we know that the most incredible phenomenon going on in road right now is crossover riders diving in from other disciplines. This is an amazing opportunity for Keegan to show how talented he really is.”
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National federations have roughly another week to make final selections and submit them to the UCI for approval, but the decision to select Swenson is a major moment in the rider’s blossoming career. It ensures that the US team will have one of the most dynamic and interesting riders to watch on the startline come September 25.
It’s still unclear who will join Swenson on the start line of the men’s race with news announced on Friday that Lawson Craddock had his visa declined. Neilson Powless had been in the mix but VeloNews understands that the EF Education-EasyPost rider will opt out and help his trade team secure valuable UCI points in Europe.
Powless had been an automatic selection following his top-ten result in last year’s world championships in Belgium. Quinn Simmons has also removed himself through selection due to fatigue.
Swenson has attracted interest from WorldTour teams this season and although he was not an automatic selection for the team, he was put forward by members of the management committee as a strong candidate for consideration.
His incredible performances in mountain biking and gravel have stood out this year. Selection for the world championships could prove to be a stepping stone for the all-rounder to make the move to Europe next season.