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Climbing specialist Michael Woods will join Team Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021 to bolster Chris Froome’s grand tour squad next season. The Canadian will also lead the team in some of the biggest classics and monument races.
For Woods, ISN co-owner Sylvan Adams, and performance manager Paulo Saldanha, this move closes a circle that started years ago. Woods said, “Paulo and Sylvan are the reason that I am a pro cyclist today.
“I first met Paulo in 2013, and he immediately took me under his wing. He pushed me to quit my jobs (working as a bank teller and at a bike shop), and he told me I had the ability to be a pro. Because of my age (27 at the time), I was too old to qualify for government grants or get a place on a development team. It was difficult for me to justify leaving my job. However, Paulo connected me with Sylvan, and the two of them invested in me when nobody else would. Through their support and belief, I managed to rise through the cycling ranks and make it to the highest level of the sport.”
Wood’s longtime coach Paulo Saldanha said, “I have been working with Michael for over six years. I noticed his engine in a camp in Quebec, just as he was beginning to race bikes. As he progressed, he was supported (and still is) by B2ten, an organization that helps elite athletes in Canada. Michael will be a strong weapon on our squad as he has a great capacity to win at the highest level, while also having an extremely positive impact on team culture.”
ISN team manager Kjell Carlstrom made it clear he has great expectations of Woods: ”Mike is going to be a pivotal piece in our structuring in the coming years. His career accomplishments so far are great, but we believe he will be able to achieve even more, both individually and for the team, as we move forward together.”
33 year old Woods began his pro cycling career with Cannondale-Drapac four years ago and has seen success by winning a Vuelta stage, victory in Milan-Torino last season, second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and a bronze medal in the 2018 World Championships.
Daryl Impey, Patrick Bevan as well as Norwegian rider Carl Fredrik Hagen have also been signing announcements by ISN in recent days.