EF Education First strengthens Classics squad with Keukeleire

EF Education First Pro Cycling is proud to announce the signing of Jens Keukeleire. The 30-year-old is a versatile rider who bolsters the team’s options in the sprints and over the cobblestones.

“Jens is another piece in assembling an all-powerful Classics armada,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He’ll also be useful for reinventing our sprint game alongside Kristoffer Halvorsen. Also, in the view of future objectives with Dani Martínez and Sergio Higuita, we felt an experienced crosswind Jedi like Jens would be useful.”

Hailing from Belgium, Keukeleire grew up on the cobbles. His palmares reflect his upbringing: back-to-back Baloise Belgium Tour victories, wins at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, Le Samyn, Nokere-Koerse, second at Gent Wevelgem. Three season ago his snagged his first Grand Tour win, winning a reduced bunch sprint into Bilbao at the Vuelta a España. 

“My main focus has always been the one-day Classics, mainly the cobbled classics, but I see myself as a rider that can go well on different terrains,” explained Keukeleire. “Because of this, I see myself as a good domestique, helping both sprinters in the lead-outs as well as the general classification riders in the Grand Tours. My favorite race is Paris-Roubaix.”

Keukeleire spent his neo-pro seasons with French-registered Cofidis before moving to Australia’s first WorldTour team, Mitchelton-SCOTT, for six seasons. He spent two years with Belgian-based Lotto-Soudal before moving to EF Education First Pro Cycling. He says the team’s culture and equipment sponsors drew him to move to the American-registered squad.

“EF seems to be a team that has a really good balance between racing at the highest level and enjoying everything that comes with being a pro cyclist,” said Keukeleire. “The team is highly competitive when it comes to equipment and staff. The rider is provided everything he needs to get the maximum results. That’s important, and so is having fun on the bus and at the dinner table when racing is done. I’m also looking forward to being reunited with a few former teammates.”

Father to two young boys, Keukeleire’s life/bike balance includes plenty of family time.

“My two sons, one- and three-years-old, give me the perfect way to spend my time off the bike,” said Keukeleire. “As cyclists, we travel a lot, so when I am home, most of my free times goes to family. Also I’m always reading books. It started as a way for me to create a good night ritual, but now I can really enjoy reading a good book.”

Like many of his teammates, Keukeleire is deeply appreciated of the opportunities his profession has offered him to explore the world.

“To me, there’s no better way to explore the world than by bike,” said Keukeleire. “You can go almost anywhere you want by bike, and as a pro cyclist, we practically go everywhere anyway. Learning new cultures, discovering new parts of the world, it’s the way of life as a cyclist.”