American Continental team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies announced Thursday that it has picked up three more Canadians for the 2015 season. Guillaume Boivin returns to North America from the WorldTour Cannondale squad, Pierrick Naud joins from Garneau-Québecor and Michael Woods, who recently represented Canada in the UCI Road World Championships, comes over from 5-Hour Energy.
Optum, which has three strong Canadians on its women’s squad in Annie Ewart, Leah Kirchmann and Denise Ramsden, also has Ryan Anderson and Will Routley on its men’s team.
Boivin has been plying his trade with Cannondale for two years, helping to lead out Slovakian dynamo Peter Sagan. Cannondale and Garmin-Sharp will merge in 2015 and many riders will have to find new homes. Boivin’s experience on the elite stage will be crucial in Optum’s big stage races in North America, like California, Utah, Colorado and Alberta.
Naud had a fantastic 2014 Grand Prix Cycliste Saguenay, coming second on GC and in the points categories after podium finishes in all four stages.
Woods finished just off the podium at this year’s national road race. He also had good showings in the GP Cyclistes Quebec and Montreal. A pure climber, he’ll be the cat among the pigeons for Optum
Optum was the second ranked UCI America Tour team in 2014 after Team SmartStop. Carter Jones, Eric Young and Ryan Anderson all made the top-15 in individual rankings.