Israel Start-Up Nation sign first super-domestique to support Chris Froome

The Norwegian rider only started road cycling aged 23 but has developed into a strong stage racer

Israel Start-Up Nation have moved to strengthen their squad for Chris Froome’s arrival with the signing of a super-domestique.

Norwegian climber Carl Fredrik Hagen will join the team in the off-season from Lotto-Soudal and will be expected to form part of Froome’s close-knit Grand Tour team.

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The 28-year-old is racing just his second season at WorldTour level, having spent four years riding for Continental teams prior to his move to Lotto-Soudal aged 27.

He only started road cycling aged 23 after switching from cross-country skiing and then mountain biking.

His best results so far include winning the Tour du Jura in 2018 and then finishing eighth at the Vuelta a España in 2019.

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Hagen commented: “I look forward to evolving further in a team with those ambitions; working together with some of the world’s best riders.

“It’s going to be exciting and fun to be integrated into a new team which hasn’t yet reached its full potential.

“We’ll build up together toward success in the coming years. I’m looking for a role and an opportunity to achieve some good results in the GC and individual stages, as well as to support the team captains to success in the mountains.”

Chris Froome (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images)

Froome will join the team from Team Ineos and he has made no secret of his aspirations to add to his tally of seven Grand Tour titles, including four Tours de France.

Riders on the team told Cycling Weekly last week that big improvements will need to be made by all, and team manager Kjell Carlstrom believes Hagen will help in that regard.

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“Carl Fredrik showed remarkable things in his first year in the WorldTour, with top ten overall placings in several stage races, including the Vuelta.

“We believe he has the potential to go further. We see him having a double position in the team – he can learn and gain more expertise while being a great help to our other riders and getting his own chances in other races, including Grand Tours.”

Hagen is excited about working with Froome and furthering his own potential. He added: “My drive to get better is what’s bringing me forward. I’m never satisfied, even when I’m in great shape. I’m 28-years-old and still feel like I have lots to learn and accomplish on my bike.”