New manager Jens Blatter: “Our goal is to become the world’s best young Continental Team”
Following the team’s most successful season yet, which produced six victories and propelled three young riders into the pro ranks, Israel – Premier Tech Academy has signed 11 promising talents to continue the journey of becoming one of the world’s leading producers of cycling talent.
In addition to the new riders, the team has recruited Swiss Jens Blatter, a well-respected manager and sports director with a proven record of success leading developmental teams, to become its new manager. Blatter will begin the new season with an abundance of talented riders who have raced successfully at both Under-23 and pro-level races and expressed his confidence that he could lead the team to new heights.
Blatter (45) launched his career in developing young riders back in 2003, a year after a crash ended his own racing aspirations. He founded a Devo team in his native Switzerland as both manager and sports director before joining the BMC Devo team. In 2019, he became manager and DS of the Groupama-FDJ Continental team. In his words, “We started from zero and, in just four years, we became the best Continental team in the world.”
The decision to join Israel – Premier Tech Academy was taken to embrace the new challenge and to repeat his success with the Israeli team. “With all the experience I gained in the past years, and with the young talents we have, I have no doubt that we can reach this ambitious goal. My job will be to develop and strengthen the talent we have to the point that they are prepared to take on the next level: the IPT pro team.”
He will not have to start from scratch. Three young riders from Israel Cycling Academy have already moved onto IPT (Italian Marco Frigo, British Mason Hollyman, and Canadian Derek Gee) this year, and others are expected to knock on that door next season – most of them Israeli.
Gordon Fraser, the team’s manager last season, will take the lead in North American scouting this year. IPT Manager Kjell Carlstrom had this to say, “Gordon Fraser was part of our success in 2022. We are sure that he will be instrumental in providing us with insight into the abundance of talent that is back there in North America.”
According to the team’s sports director Ruben Plaza, Israelis Nadav Raisberg, Oded Kogut, Roi Weinberg, Rotem Tene, Canadian Riley Pickrell, and Australian Alastair Mackellar (who was just crowned Australian champion in both road and ITT) are prime candidates to move up the ladder to the pro team at the end of the season. “I expect them to continue their progress and get opportunities to race with the pro team to prove they deserve the chance to move up.”
Among the new riders signed to the Academy team is one of the world’s best young track talents: Canadian Dylan Bibic. Bibic won the 2021 World Junior Championship in the points race and the 2022 Elite World Scratch race.
The team will begin their season tomorrow with a full squad of Israeli riders in the UCI 1.1 Classica Comunitat Valenciana.
The Team Roster:
Nadav Raisberg (21) Israel
Oded Kogut (21) Israel
Rotem Tene (21) Israel
Roi Weinberg (22) Israel
Alastair Mackellar (21) Australia
Riley Pickrell (21) Canada
Lahav Davidzon (22) Israel
Cole Kessler (19) USA
Aviv Bental (19) Israel
Jonatan Abudraham (18) Israel
Dylan Bibic (19) Canada
Luca d’Hollander (19) Belgium
Daniel Lima (18) Portugal
Jesse Maris (18) USA
Pau Marti (18) Spain
Carson Mattern (18) Canada
Viggo Moore (18) USA
Francisco Peñuela (21) Venezuela
Radovan Stec (18) Czech Republic