Canadian cyclist Michael Woods re-signs with Cannondale-Drapac

Michael Woods, left, of Canada. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods, who turned heads at the Spanish Vuelta this summer, has re-signed with the Cannondale-Drapac team.

The 31-year-old from Ottawa has signed for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

"The team has put their faith in (me) from the start," Woods said in a statement. "They were the first team that reached out to me, and they gave me a leadership role in my very first race — which is even harder to wrap my mind around now than it was back then. I’m happy to have the opportunity to pay back everyone for the trust and support they showed me during these next two years."

Woods, a former elite distance runner who turned to cycling due to a recurrent stress fracture in his foot, made headlines by finishing seventh overall at the 2017 Spanish Vuelta.

At the time the future of Cannondale-Drapac, which is managed by Slipstream Sports, was uncertain due to the loss of a sponsor. But the team has since solidified its financial position.

"There was no question that we wanted Mike to stay with us," Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said in a statement. "We knew he was capable of the performances he put in this year if he was managed and mentored properly, and we think we’re still uncovering the depths of his potential. Mike is motivated, bright and open-minded. He’s an asset to our program."

Woods opened his UCI WorldTour campaign for Cannondale-Drapac in style in 2016 by finishing fifth overall at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Injuries marred the rest of his debut season. He competed in the Olympic road race in Rio despite breaking his hand in three places and injuring his back in a crash during Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the third of the Ardennes Classics one-day races.

He finished 55th on a hilly 256.4-kilometre Olympic course that saw 78 competitors not finish and two complete the race over the time limit.

Woods started his second season in Australia, finishing 21st at the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under.

He finished 11th in the 2017 Volta a Catalunya, placing ninth, 11th and 12th on climbing stages.

Woods posted a pair of fifth-place stage finishes at the Giro d’Italia en route to 38th place in the general classification.