This was Alex Cataford’s first year on a WorldTour team—and it was quite a year to kick off a WoldTour career. The 26-year-old Israel Start-Up Nation cyclist started off with a few races in Australia. He then moved on to the UAE Tour, which was famously cut short in February due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Despite the pandemic, Cataford was able to continue training during the unexpected off-season and virtually competed with his teammates in the Zwift Tour for All. Although his first season hasn’t looked like he imagined it, Cataford will hopefully be able to ride a regular calendar in the coming year or so, as he just signed a two year extension of his contract with Israel Start-Up Nation.
Israel Start-Up Nation has a number of ties to Canada—Cataford never feels far from home. The team’s co-owner, Sylvan Adams, is Canadian, but there is also Kevin Ham, the minority-owner, Paulo Saldanha the PowerWatts trainer and coach, Andreas Beck-Watt, a team mechanic and the two other Canadian riders James Piccoli and Guillaume Boivin. “Although there identity is clearly Israeli”, says Cataford, “there is a Canadian influence in the team.”
Cataford is looks forward to developing himself further with Israel Start-Up Nation the next two years. “I want to be a good, supportive rider for the GC-guys in the team and continue the dream with ISN,” he says. “And then take my chance when I get them. Yes, obviously in those two GPs: Montreal and Quebec.”
Kjell Carlström, ISN’s technical director, is looking forward to the next two years. “Alex has been progressing with us in all areas as a cyclist,” he says. “We really believe in his capacity to help the team and continue to become a better cyclist. He gives 100% for the team every day and that is very important for us.”