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Woods signs with Cannondale-Garmin for 2016

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Michael Woods (Optum) moves into yellow after todays stage

Michael Woods (Optum) moves into yellow after todays stage (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Optum Pro Cycling's Michael Woods wins stage 5 at the 2015 Tour of Utah.

Optum Pro Cycling's Michael Woods wins stage 5 at the 2015 Tour of Utah. (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Michael Woods (Optum) happy in yellow.

Michael Woods (Optum) happy in yellow. (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Michael Woods (Optum) tries to bridge up to the break

Michael Woods (Optum) tries to bridge up to the break (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Newcomer Michael Woods is looking for a breakout season this year.

Newcomer Michael Woods is looking for a breakout season this year. (Image credit: Pat Malach)

Former middle-distance-runner-turned-cyclist Michael Woods will move to the WorldTour with Cannondale-Garmin next season.

Woods, who came to cycling after a debilitating foot injury ended his running career, won a stage and finished second overall earlier this month at the Tour of Utah after wearing yellow for one stage. He rides for Optum Pro Cycling this season and will compete next with the team at the upcoming Tour of Alberta.

Cannondale-Garmin CEO Jonathan Vaughters, who has been a long-time admirer of Woods, said the 28-year-old Canadian is the real deal.

"One of the things that impressed me most about Mike is the way he earned his way into cycling," Vaughters said. "He wasn’t a part of any development team, and he got where he is by hard work, camping in his car and really toughing it out.

"Once he got the chance to ride for Optum, he was able to ride in some bigger races with smart teammates and directors," Vaughters said. "I continued to watch him closely. He learned how to maneuver in the peloton, which is difficult for runners to do, and that convinced me. While he’s got a long way to go, I think he could be one of the top Ardennes riders in the world someday. And if he does that, I will be very happy and proud, because he will have earned it the hard way."

For Woods, the chance to ride for the Cannondale-Garmin team is the realization of a long-term goal.

"I followed the team when I was running, and I knew if I ever somehow got into cycling, it was the team I would want to be a part of," Woods said. "I always liked what the team stood for, and they always seemed to have a great group of riders. Getting picked up by Cannondale-Garmin is a dream come true for me."