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Michael Woods: ‘We’ve got the riders’ to fight off relegation

'Unfortunately with the points relegation system we’re not in a good place right now,' says Canadian.

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Israel-Premier Tech’s hopes of remaining in the UCI WorldTour for next season remain bleak with the team currently parked in 24th place in the team rankings following the Giro d’Italia.

Next year, the WorldTour will comprise of 18 teams with points from the 2020-2022 world rankings deciding on the final selection. As it stands 22 teams are in the frame for a possible spot, but Israel-Premier Tech has scored just four wins this year, with Patrick Bevin accounting for 75 percent of those victories.

A number of the team’s leaders have underperformed over the first five months of the campaign due to illness, injury, and a lack of form, but Michael Woods, who won a stage at Gran Camiño earlier in the year, believes that the squad has the roster to turn things around and make it into the top-18 squads.

“For sure. We didn’t have the start to the season that we wanted,” Woods said at the start of the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes in France on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately with the points relegation system we’re not in a good place right now, and we want to move up but we’ve got some really strong riders and we’ve just had some bad luck. We’re hoping that luck will turn our way, we’ve got the riders who can score the points and we just need to start here.”

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Woods lines up alongside a strong team that includes four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Jakob Fuglsang for the climber-friendly race. A number of the Israel team has recently trained at altitude in recent weeks but Woods is aiming to hit the ground running at the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes.

“I think that I’m in the same boat as everyone. Just came down from altitude in Andorra for this race,” he said. “I want to use this race to see where I’m at, test where I’m at. I didn’t have a great start to the season this year but I hope that I can turn things around. I’m healthy and excited to race. We’re a strong team, we’ve got strong riders here. When I’m on a best day I can always try for the win and that’s the aim here.”