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Kaitie Keough crashes out of Cyclo-cross World Cup in Waterloo

Katie Keough (Cannondale p/b Cyclocross.com) after crashing at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Waterloo in 2021
Katie Keough (Cannondale p/b Cyclocross.com) after crashing at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Waterloo in 2021 (Image credit: Jackie Tyson)

Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b Cyclocross.com) “was just being aggressive” and crashed hard into the fencing on the first uphill straightaway after the holeshot of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Waterloo during Sunday's elite women’s race

Keough remained on the ground for several minutes, but fortunately was conscious and able to stand on her own while eventual winner Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and podium finishers Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) and Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal) led the charging peloton around the twisting course.

“I’m OK. I am super sore and bummed, but it happens and I’m OK. We’ll see, one day at a time I guess,” Keough told Cyclingnews from the team trailer, nursing her left arm and shoulder in a sling. “The medic was great and we did an ultrasound. From what he could see, there’s no fractures. That’s really good. He just said really bad bruising, and bad muscle tissue.”

Sitting in the team compound and receiving well wishes from her parents and grandparents, Keough said she was on the outside of the large pack of riders and trying to make a pass on the outside line on the uphill just beyond the start line, then suddenly tangled with the barricade and went straight down. The other riders were able to avoid her.

Keough is a Wisconsin native and a local favourite each year at Trek CX Cup and the World Cup races. In the C2 Trek CX Cup race Friday, she finished ninth. What hurt the most was that she could not compete in this race during what would be the final ‘cross of her career, and her assessment was quite simple.

“Actually, this is my last year racing. So it’s a bummer. But it’s OK, it happens,” she said with a wry smile.

The Racine, Wisconsin native has been a member of the Cannondale team since 2010, winning the U23 national cyclo-cross crown that year. She took her first World Cup podium in 2015 in Valkenburg, in 2018 she became a World Cup winner in Iowa City and in 2019 she placed seventh at the Worlds. 

Near the end of 2019 she abandoned her European cyclo-cross campaign early and returned home to Colorado after a series of lacklustre performances and took an extended break from racing to recover. In a recent interview with OnMilwaukee.com, she said, “I got very depressed and lost my 'why' for bike racing. It took me until the end of the 2020-21 season to come full circle.”

Keough is still planning to ride a full 2021-2022 season, focused on two additional World Cup races in the US this week, US Nationals in Wheaton, Illinois and UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The team will make the 700-mile southward journey on Monday from Waterloo to Fayetteville, Arkansas for round 2 of the World Cup series. 

“We are supposed to leave for Europe on October 25th and I am sure by then I’ll be better. Clara [Honsinger] and I will be over there from the 25th to November 30th, and Katie [Clouse] comes a little later. Then we’ll be home for Nationals for two weeks and head back over for another four weeks until Worlds in Arkansas. That’s the plan,” the 29-year-old said.

That plan includes her travel to Fayetteville for the third annual FayetteCross, with Wednesday's race now a first-time World Cup event. 

“I’m not going to call it right now, but the way it feels right now, it’s day by day. We still have Monday and Tuesday, so we’ll see. I don’t know,” she said. “I think we’ll see parts of the Worlds course on Wednesday. I don’t know how similar it will be, but we’ll at least get to see the venue. It’s exciting to have Worlds come back to the US for just the second time.

“I’m also super excited about Nationals. A handful of years ago we did Nationals in Wisconsin, here in the Madison area and that was really cool. Chicago is the next best thing to home, so I’m looking forward to having Nationals come back to the Midwest. It’ll be fun.”

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Jackie Tyson

Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling for people of all abilities and ages. Tyson has been recognized for communications excellence with 10 Phoenix Awards, presented by the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp - and was recognized by a national media outlet as the first female depicted in a pro baseball card set (Ft. Myers Royals). She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times. Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in  Provence (France). Her favorite mountain bike rides are in Park City, Utah (USA).