Tel Aviv. September 29. Canadian Gordon Fraser will become the new head sports director of the Israel Cycling Academy development team, replacing Australian Zak Dempster, who will move up to Israel Start-Up Nation as a full-time DS.
“We see these moves as a win-win for the whole organization,” said ISN’s team manager, Kjell Carlstrom. “Zak has proved to be a fantastic sports director and has set our whole devo project on a fast track forward. We expect Gord to continue the momentum and bring his vast experience both as a rider and as a sports director to further develop our young generation – especially the Israelis.”
Since the team was founded more than six years ago, the core mission and goal of the Israel Cycling Academy project has been to help Israeli cycling talent grow and become competitive at the top-tier of professional racing. Significant progress was made towards achieving this goal with Dempster and Israeli manager Aviad Izrael at the helm of the development team, and Fraser is expected to push it further on the same track. “The Israeli riders personify the globalization of cycling’s popularity. We want to continue to foster that trend and ultimately graduate as many Israeli riders to the WorldTour as possible,” he said.
“I’ve been out of high-performance cycling for two years and I look forward to returning to this level of competition,” said Fraser (53) who comes to ICA with a proven track record of twenty years, including more than 200 victories as a pro-rider and 10 years of DS and management experience for various teams in North America on his resume.
Dempster (34) expressed confidence in his successor, saying “Gord’s got a proven track record of developing talent over the years. We’ve had a lot of communication already and I like the way he operates: clear and to the point. I’m sure we’ve got a guy we can trust to direct the strategy effectively and further build the great platform of the Continental team.”
For the young Australian sports director, the move up to the WorldTour team completes a full circle: Dempster spent two years racing for the team before assuming a leadership role on the Conti team.
Dempster: “I’m really grateful I started my career as a DS with the Continental project as it allowed me to learn quickly about how a team really operates on all levels as well as to work up close with young, motivated guys, which is the best part of this job.
“Now that I’ve been able to gain experience doing a couple of Vueltas and a Tour [de France], I feel that I’m ready to progress into ISN as a director. I’m so excited to be a part of forming strategies and putting in place plans with our roster to try and become one of the top teams in the world. This is my dream job – I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”