On Monday Cannondale-Drapac announced its lineup for Tour Down Under, the first race of the WorldTour, with Canadian Michael Woods and 2013 TDU champion Tom-Jelte Slagter slated to be the team’s GC men. The 19th edition begins January 17 in Unley, South Australia.
“Rusty” Woods has been down in Australia training with his teammates and enjoying the local fauna since the new year.
Fittest man alive strikes a pose. pic.twitter.com/Exc5W66LyO
— alex howes (@alex_howes) January 5, 2017
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The duo’s teammates will be Paddy Bevin, Will Clarke, Alex Howes, Tom Van Asbroeck and Brendan Canty, who thought for a few seconds on Sunday that he was the new Australian road champ, joining a long list of cyclists who celebrated victory too early.
Last year, Woods exploded onto the WorldTour stage when he came third to Richie Porte and Sergio Henao on the TDU queen stage to take fifth overall. After 18th in the Volta a Catalunya and 12th at La Flèche Wallonne, a crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège derailed his season, forcing him to miss the Giro d’Italia. He recovered to be the sole Canadian finisher of the Rio Olympic Games road race and come runner-up to Angel “Superman” Lopez in Milano-Torino.
On the team’s website, Woods said, “I want to replicate that if not improve on that performance this year. We also have a good guy in Tom-Jelte Slagter, who’s won the race before, so we’re coming in with a very strong roster. I feel good having TJ there —it takes a bit of pressure off me. We have a few ways to do well.”