Israel Start-Up Nation have confirmed their full Tour de France roster, with Dan Martin, veteran sprinter André Greipel, Canada’s Guillaume Boivin, and Israel’s Omer Goldstein selected alongside team leader Michael Woods and designated road captain Chris Froome.
On Monday it was announced that Woods would lead Israel Start-Up Nation’s overall ambitions and target the yellow jersey in the Tour de France after a strong ride at the Tour de Suisse. Froome’s presence at the Tour was confirmed soon after but with the role of road captain after he conceded he was not at the level to compete for overall victory and a possible fifth Tour success.
"I’ve been working tirelessly to get to where I am, and although my ambitions this year won’t be as leader, I hope to add my experience and support to the team as best I can as road captain. We have a strong contender in Michael Woods, and I look forward to giving my all for him and the team in the battle to Paris," Froome said.
Israel Start-up Nation declared they would focus on both the general classification as well as stage wins throughout the race.
Also in the eight-rider line-up are Reto Hollenstein and Rick Zabel, who will be a valuable lead-out man and alternative to Greipel for the sprints.
Greipel is now 38 but recently won a race at the Challenge Mallorca and a stage at the Ruta del Sol.
Dan Martin won a stage at the Giro d’Italia and finished 10th overall. He is expected to target stage victories, while Woods tests his overall aspirations.
The team have faced some difficult selection decisions after Daryl Impey struggled to recover from a crash at the Ruta del Sol in late May and Alessandro De Marchi crashed out of the Giro d’Italia with serious injuries.
"Mike will be our main rider for the GC as Dan already did the Giro. But of course, if Dan can add to that tally in the Tour, it will be perfect for us," senior directeur sportif Rik Verbrugghe explained.
"In fact, we will take on the Tour similar to how we did the Giro, only that we now have two riders to protect. Looking at the team we are bringing, I fully believe we will put our mark on the race.
"It’s never easy to make the final selection for the Tour de France. Every rider has his own skill set to offer and we need to bring them all together, working as a team. This is not just about selecting one rider. We have to select a whole group that works well together towards a common goal throughout the three weeks."
Woods finished fifth overall at the Tour de Suisse and was fifth overall at the Tour de Romandie.
"I have had an opportunity to lead a team in a Grand Tour before, but never at the Tour de France. I am honored to be given this position, especially considering the quality of the team we have," Woods said.
"I love racing GC. It’s really challenging and doing it in the Tour is even more challenging, more intense, and much more stressful. But the way I am riding these days, I am up to the challenge. And with the team that we have, we will be a force to be reckoned with."
Israel Start-Up Nation for the Tour de France:
- Michael Woods
- Dan Martin
- Chris Froome
- Omer Goldstein
- Andre’ Greipel
- Reto Hollenstein
- Guillaume Boivin
- Rick Zabel
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