Jakob Fuglsang and Mike Woods will race together for the first time this season at the inaugural edition of Gran Camiño, where the two riders will lead Israel – Premier Tech at the four-day race.
Although this will be the first edition of Gran Camiño, the roads of Galicia are not entirely unknown and the team is ready to tackle the undulating terrain in what is set to be a tough early season battle.
“I’m excited to be back racing and to discover a new race,” said Fuglsang. “I started my season well in Valencia and after recovering from Covid, I’m feeling good and ready to get back to the start line. Looking at the Gran Camiño stages, it’s clear that every day will be a huge battle with a lot of climbing on the cards, which will be a good test of my form. I’m also looking forward to doing my first time trial of the season as it’s always important to test the material in a new team. We have a strong team and I think this will be a great race to fine-tune my form ahead of Strade Bianche.”
Woods is ready to hit the reset button on his season after illness forced him out of Ruta del Sol last week.
“I’m really excited to be taking part in the race. I’m on good form right now and it was really frustrating last week to fall ill the day before Ruta del Sol. I made a last minute decision to race and try and survive the first day but the first day proved to be too difficult for me. In the end, I was able to recover and I’m feeling much better now. With the illness in mind, the big goal now is to get some race days in the legs and use this as a test and preparation for some bigger goals later in the spring. That being said, we have a really strong team and I am looking forward to racing for the first time with Jakob and seeing how we do.”
Despite featuring more than 2000m of elevation, the first stage finishing in Vigo provides the only flat finish, while Fuglsang and Woods will gear up for a General Classification test on stages two and three when they face a combined elevation of almost 6000m across the two days.
The race culminates in a 15-kilometer time trial on Sunday, which gives Alessandro De Marchi, Mads Würtz Schmidt, and Matthias Brändle the chance to test their form against the clock.
“Like most of the peloton, it hasn’t been the simplest start to the season but we are heading to Gran Camiño with a very strong team with Mike and Jakob as our two leaders. Alessandro De Marchi will make his season debut and can be our third card, while Mads Würtz Schmidt, Matthias Brändle, and our two Israel Cycling Academy riders Marco Frigo and Derek Gee will provide crucial support on the tough terrain,” explained Sports Director Oscar Guerrero.
“We are aiming for top results in Gran Camiño, a race which is very suited to our team’s strengths. However, what is most important is that we are on the front foot from day one and race our race, control when we need to control, pile the pressure on at every opportunity and get our leaders to the critical points with team support, so that we can play our cards well. We have a great chance to set the standard for the upcoming objectives here in Gran Camiño through good, tough racing and that’s what we aim to do.”
Israel – Premier Tech at Gran Camiño (24-27 February)
Riders: Matthias Brändle (AUT), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Marco Frigo (ITA), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Derek Gee (CAN), Mike Woods (CAN), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN).
Sports Directors: Oscar Guerrero (ESP), Claudio Cozzi (ITA)