Chris Froome and Michael Woods head Israel Start-Up Nation at Tour de Romandie 2021

Canadian Woods is likely to be the main focus as Froome continues to search for that elusive good form heading towards the Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris Froome and Michael Woods are down to ride the Tour de Romandie for their team Israel Start-Up Nation along with a strong line-up set to search for stage wins.

Froome comes into this after another disappointing performance at the week-long race of the Tour of the Alps where he finished a long way behind eventual winner, Simon Yates (BikeExchange). Although, Froome did show some signs of improvement after making a strong breakaway on the queen stage of the race.

The seven-time Grand Tour winner is likely to get a carte blanche role to try and find his legs and potentially get up in more breakaways and try to challenge for a stage win.

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Meanwhile, Woods has been in the Ardennes showing off his exceptional form that he has carried all the way from the start of the season at the Tour du Var. Woods managed two top-fives in the Ardennes Classics and looked the strongest on the climbs.

The punchy climber from Toronto also showed he had what it took to go up against the best in the high mountains at the Volta a Catalunya where he managed a few top-ten results.

Woods is almost certainly going into the race as the team leaders and team sports director, Ril Verbrugghe confirmed this in a team press release: "The goal for us here is a stage win and if we can get a good spot in the GC as well, it would be perfect.

"We have some strong time trialists lining up so we aim for a good result in the prologue already. Woods has shown that he’s in really good shape at the moment and he will be our man for the general classification."

Alongside Woods and Froome are some very talented riders who will mostly be targetting the two time trials that book-end the race.

Giro d'Italia stage winner, Alex Dowsett will be hoping he can put in a good show against the clock in the prologue and perhaps take the yellow jersey, but he will face stiff opposition from his team-mates as well as riders like Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ).

Patrick Bevin is another rider who can put in a very impressive time trial but he also has a very fast finish making him a possibility for the team on the sprint and punchy days. Alongside him are riders who are likely to go for breakaways or support Woods.

Mads Würtz Schmidt comes into this after having a great start to his season taking a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico as well as second place in the mountains standings behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

Guillaume Boivin would be a good call for a sprint from a small group, much like Bevin, but will likely be on support duty. Whereas Swiss rider Reto Hollenstein will be hoping to impress on home roads.

The Tour de Romandie starts on Tuesday, April 27 with a tricky 4km prologue around Oron that takes on an 800-metre climb that maxes out at a gradient of eight per cent to the line.

Israel Start-Up Nation line-up for Tour de Romandie 2021

Michael Woods (Can)

Chris Froome (GBr)

Alex Dowsett (GBr)

Patrick Bevin (NZl)

Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den)

Reto Hollenstein (Sui)

Guillaume Boivin (Can)

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Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.