Veteran Canadian Hugo Houle will ride for Israel Start-Up Nation next year.
The 31-year-old from Sainte-Perpetue, Que., joins fellow Canadians Michael Woods, Alex Cataford, Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli in the ISN stable of riders.
Woods, Houle and Boivin represented Canada on the road race at the Tokyo Olympics.
Founded in 2014 as the Israel Cycling Academy, Team Israel Start-Up Nation is co-owned by Canadian-born Sylvan Adams, a former Canadian Masters cycling champion who emigrated to Israel in 2015. Paulo Saldanha, team’s performance director, is also Canadian.
The team also announced the signing of Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang. Both riders have signed three-year contracts.
Houle, the reigning Canadian time-trial champion, will be starting his 12th pro season next year.
“After four years at team Astana-Premier Tech, this new challenge brought me a new motivation for the coming season,” Houle said in a statement. “I am really excited to join ISN. I want to thank Sylvan Adams for this opportunity to come home. It’s natural to join him, as he contributed to developing Canadian cycling with the SpiderTech team and support in the world championships.
“I’m sure the team will provide me with the best environment to keep progressing as a rider in the coming season and contribute to ISN’s success.”
Adams welcomed Houle back to the fold.
“Hugo has developed into a fine pro, and, as I expressed to him after he signed with us, he’s come home and will race with his fellow Canadian buddies, Mike Woods and Guillaume Boivin,” Adams said.
Said ISN GM Kjell Carlstrom: “With Hugo, we have got a strong helper who has shown how valuable he can be for his teammates, getting the team in the correct position at the right time.”