August 20, 2015 – Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that Mike “Rusty” Woods will join the team in 2016. Woods is a former New Balance-sponsored runner. New Balance is also a long-time sponsor of Slipstream Sports. The 28 year-old Canadian started cycling about three years ago after suffering a devastating running injury.
He set out by borrowing his father’s bike and testing his skills at local races. Woods’ progression in the sport most recently earned him a win at 2015 Tour of Utah, and the leader’s jersey. He eventually finished second overall in that race, to Cannondale-Garmin’s Joe Dombrowski. Although he loves his cycling career, running still has a special place in Woods’ heart; and the multi-talented athlete currently coaches running (and also holds a degree in English from the University of Michigan).
Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, has been a long-time admirer of Woods. He said: “Mike is the real deal. He runs a 3.57 mile and is a former New Balance-sponsored runner and a junior Pan Am Gold medalist. But one of the things that impressed me most about Mike is the way he earned his way into cycling. He wasn’t a part of any development team and he got where he is by hard word, camping in his car, and really toughing it out.
“Once he got the chance to ride for Optum, he was able to ride in some bigger races with smart teammates and directors. I continued to watch him closely. He learned how to maneouver in the peloton, which is difficult for runners to do, and that convinced me. While he’s got a long way to go, I think he could be one of the top Ardennes riders in the world someday. And if he does that, I will be very happy and proud, because he will have earned it the hard way.”
The feeling was mutual. While Woods was still running, he was watching the Slipstream organization. “I followed the team when I was running and I knew if I ever somehow got into cycling, it was the team I would want to be a part of,” said Woods. “I always liked what the team stood for, and they always seemed to have a great group of riders. Getting picked up by Cannondale-Garmin is a dream come true for me.”