Road

Israel Start-Up Nation finalizes largest roster in WorldTour for 2021

Contract extensions with Guillaume Boivin and Reto Hollenstein close out team with arrival of Chris Froome and Michael Woods.

Israel Start-Up Nation confirmed its roster for 2021 with 32 riders, making it the largest team in the UCI WorldTour next season.

The team finalized its roster Monday with two-year contract extensions with Canadian Guillaume Boivin and Swiss rider Reto Hollenstein. Nine new riders arrive for 2021, including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

The team now includes riders from 17 different nations, including a core group from Israel, and everyone will meet for 10 days in early January in Israel at the team’s first major pre-season camp.

“Our lineup next is significantly enhanced, yet it keeps the core group together,” said co-owner Sylvan Adams. “We plan to be competitive in the biggest races. Our pre-season training camp will provide an opportunity to bring everyone together and bond us as a unit. Exciting times ahead.”

The arrival of Froome and other blockbuster riders such as Michael Woods, Sep Vanmarcke, and Daryl Impey will immediately raise the team’s profile and expectations.

“It will be fascinating to see how well we can perform up against the established big teams,” said team manager Kjell Carlstrom. “We have a balanced roster in the sense that we can get results in all types of races, but our strongest chances will be at stage races. We are still underdogs for overall GC victories, but we can be in the mix for GC  podiums. In the next few weeks, we’ll sit down and establish a game plan for that.”

The team’s plans include Boivin, who joined the squad in 2017.

“I’m amazed at the giant steps we’ve taken every year and I’m very excited to be reunited with my good friend Mike Woods. I hope I’ll get to race with him and support him towards success,” Boivin said.

“We have so many substantial additions to an already strong team for 2021. It looks like we will enter all our races with strong ambitions. Of course, Chris Froome brings the team to another level for the grand tours – with Dan Martin and Chris, we can expect some fireworks,” he said. “I think my skill set will be valuable to do the dirty work for those guys. I imagine the classics will be a big part of my season and with Sep Vanmarcke, we have got a true leader to go to war with. So many exciting things for next year, I’d better work hard in the offseason.”

Froome’s imminent arrival marks a major change in direction for the team, which won stages in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in its WorldTour debut in 2020.

Other new arrivals include Patrick Bevin and Alessandro Di Marchi (both CCC Team), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto-Soudal), and neo-pros Taj Jones and Sebastian Berwick.

Nils Politt moves to Bora-Hansgrohe and Matteo Badilatti joins FDJ-Groupama. Rory Sutherland and Travis McCabe both retire.