Canada’s most celebrated road racer, Steve Bauer, is joining Israel Start-Up Nation as directeur sportif. Bauer had previously been working with Astana, but will now join the five other Canadian riders on the ever-growing team. He’s not the first former Canadian ex-pro to join the group, as Gord Fraser recently announced he would the new head sports director of the Israel Cycling Academy development team in 2022.
Bauer has been in discussions with the team for over a year. “Paulo Saldanha gave me a call during the Tour to see if I was interested. Then Sylvan Adams piqued his interest as well. It just happened naturally,” Bauer said this morning at the Israel Start-Up Nation team camp in Jerusalem. “I was aligned with Jean Bélanger of Premier Tech, and the partnership didn’t come to fruition with Astana, so now he’s talking to Sylvan.” Premier Tech recently split with Astana, then had negotiations with Team Qhubecka-NextHash and BikeExchange. Premier Tech is now in talks with ISUN and working out the exact nature of the deal it will have with the team.
Bauer will be a DS and some of the riders he’ll be working with are all the Canadian riders, save for Michael Woods. (Zak Dempster, who is moving from the continental team to the WorldTour squad, will be Woods’s DS.) There are five Canadians on the team: Woods, Guillaume Boivin, Alex Cataford, James Piccoli and now, the most recent addition, Hugo Houle. Derek Gee will also be riding for the Israel Cycling Academy development team.
Bauer has been busy meeting the riders. “I’ve been learning about all the riders, what makes them tick. Their personalities. I find it interesting and important.”
This won’t be the first time he’s worked with Adams. The Montrealer sponsored Bauer’s professional continental cycling team, SpiderTech–C10 over a decade ago.
With reporting by Matthew Pioro