Israel Start-Up Nation announced on Wednesday that it had signed Jakob Fuglsang and Hugo Houle – both currently with Astana-Premiere Tech – to three-year deals.
Fuglsang, 36, will join the squad after having spent the past nine seasons with the Astana organization. The Danish climber is a two-time Monument winner, having triumphed at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2019 and Il Lombardia in 2020. He will join an Israel Start-Up Nation team that is bidding farewell to a rider who has also won both of those races in Dan Martin, who is retiring.
Fuglsang has also finished in the top 10 overall at the Tour de France, riding to seventh in 2013, and he counts two overall wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné on his lengthy palmares as well.
“I believe it’s a good time for me to try something new and I believe that ISN and I can benefit a lot from each other,” Fuglsang said in a press release. “I think that I can make good use of my experience in the team and help the team to reach some of its future goals. I’m convinced that I still have some big wins left in me and, of course, the Tour de France Grand Depart from Denmark next year will be a big goal.”
Houle has been with Astana since 2018 after coming over from AG2R La Mondiale. The 31-year-old Canadian has spent much of his career in support roles, but he is also a two-time Canadian national time trial champion and the current holder of the title.
“I want to thank [Israel Start-Up Nation co-owner] Sylvan Adams for this opportunity to come home,” Houle said of the transfer, which will see him join an organization with several Canadians on the roster and the staff. “It’s natural to join him, as he contributed to developing Canadian cycling with the SpiderTech team and support in the World Championships. I’m sure the team will provide me with the best environment to keep progressing as a rider in the coming season and contribute to ISN’s success.”