“It has been an incredible journey,” Daniel Turek says about the six years he spent riding for Israel Cycling Academy. “The first year was epic, the first trip to Israel was amazing, and I especially remember the Tour de Colombia and Tour du Rwanda.”                                                                                                           

Czech rider Daniel Turek has been part of Israel Cycling Academy from the very beginning. The strong all-rounder played a significant role in the team’s development, helping it grow from Continental to WorldTour and gave ICA its first professional cycling victory.

Winning in Azerbaijan

“Dan was our first star,” says Ron Baron, Israel Start-Up Nation’s co-owner. “His spectacular win in Azerbaijan in 2015, our first-ever win, put us on the map of professional cycling.”

Turek remembers that triumph well. “It was an incredible day. I’d been in the breakaway the stage before but got a puncture with four kilometers to go. Of course, I wasn’t pleased with that result so, the next day, we decided to try again. Again, I was in the breakaway and we made it to the finish line. I attacked 800 meters before the finish line and won the race.”

“We had a huge celebration, all of us together – the riders, staff and Ron Baron. I still have my jersey from that race hanging prominently on a wall in my house.”

Mr. Breakaway

While that stage in Azerbaijan proved he had the legs to win races, Dan, also nicknamed ‘Mr. Breakaway’, continued to show himself as a loyal and trustworthy friend. “He is a rider you could always rely on to give 120% for the team,” Baron says.

Directeur Sportif Nicki Sörensen joined Israel Cycling Academy one year after Turek and agrees with Ron Baron. “Winning from breakaways has always been Turek’s specialty, but he has truly developed into a rider who is also extremely useful as lead-out-man for sprinters. Turek is disciplined and very strong.”

Changing directions

With ISN changing direction to a GC-team led by four-time Tour de France-winner Chris Froome, and ICA changing its lineup significantly next year, the team is sad to say goodbye to its first hero. Turek is still looking for a new team in 2021.

Baron: “We are shifting the focus of our development program in 2021 to the under-23-riders and, unfortunately, this transition forced our Dan out. His departure is heartbreaking for me; however, I am confident that Mr. Breakaway will be a solid addition to any professional cycling team.”

The multi-talented Czech rider has been working tirelessly over the last few months to prove that he is worth a spot on a team at least at the Pro-Continental level in professional cycling. “I had my best 60-minute power output, 20-minute power output and 1-minute watts in the 2020 season, and I am determined to continue my improvement. I feel like I am stronger than ever before.”

“I am confident that Turek will be an asset to any professional cycling team”, Baron says. Sörensen agrees with ISN’s co-owner: “He has proven himself as an important team player, who understands where his value for the team lies. Maybe it is a coincidence, but when Turek was racing with the team, the result tended to be good.”

Photos: Noa Arnon and race organisation photographers.