Woods returns to Cannondale for two more years
Fresh off a seventh-place finish in his second-ever grand tour, Canadian Michael Woods has signed a new deal with Slipstream Sports, keeping him with the team for an additional two years.
“[Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters] believed in me before any WorldTour team and the chance he took on me meant a lot and is a big reason why I’m so happy to be re-signing,” Woods told VeloNews. “The team has played a huge role in my development as a rider and is a place where I feel at home.”
Woods joins Cannondale’s grand tour star Rigoberto Uran and classics man Sep Vanmarcke on the list of riders sticking with Vaughters’ program.
Woods, long considered an emerging talent in punchy one-day races like the Ardennes classics, proved his grand tour chops this month as he rode to a career-high 7th overall at the Vuelta a Espana. He finished 8’16” down on winner Chris Froome (Sky), 3rd on the tough climb to Cumbre del Sol on stage nine, and rode a consistent race throughout the three weeks.
Woods’ deal comes a day after Slipstream announced that it had found a new naming sponsor, EF Education First, that could close its $7 million funding gap and allow the team to continue for at least three more years.
The 30-year-old came from a running background and entered the U.S. Domestic racing scene in 2013, working his way up to the Optum squad in 2015. He finished 12th at the tough Volta ao Algarve that year, and followed it up with second overall at the Tour of Utah, catching the eye of Vaughters. Vaughters signed him for his WorldTour squad the following year.
As Vaughters spent two weeks attempting to secure a new sponsor, his riders, who had been released from their contracts, began searches of their own. Now that the team’s future has been secured it appears that most of the team’s top names will stay. Velonews has confirmed that Sep Vanmarcke will stay with the team for the 2018 season.
“I’m super proud to be a part of this group for the next two years to come,” Woods said.