Continental team to become a U23 team
‘We want to do races like the ‘Baby Giro’’
ICA continues to bridge to WorldTour team
The Israel Cycling Academy Continental team will continue in 2021, with its efforts to grow Israeli talent to the WorldTour level strengthened in the upcoming season.
In a strategic move to bolster the current development model, team management is turning Israel Cycling Academy into an under-23 team. The main purpose of ICA is to develop talent – especially Israeli – to a WorldTour level and the U23 designation contributes to that mission.
Being a U23-team allows ICA to compete in races that would normally not be open Continental teams.
“The idea of focusing completely on a U23 team is that it will allow us to field strong teams in the biggest U23 races like Liege-Bastogne-Liege and, hopefully, the Baby Giro,” says Zak Dempster, the head sports director of the Continental team. “These races are critical for the development of young riders and it’s imperative we are there fighting for results – if we are to develop the next generation of WorldTour riders within our structure.”
The team structure
ICA scouted talent from around the world in 2020, but Israelis will dominate, by number, the Continental team in 2021. Three new Israeli forces made their way onto the team: Yuval Tsahor, Kogut Odet and Rotem Tene, bringing the total to eight Israeli riders and six riders with a non-Israeli nationality on the team this year.
ISN/ICA co-owner Ron Baron says that ICA will continue to create new generations of Israeli WorldTour riders. “Israel Cycling Academy has been the heart and soul of this project since our establishment in 2014. The development program includes the most talented U23 riders in Israel. They can prepare for a great number of races.”
Omer Lahav won the Israeli U23 Road Cycling championships in 2020:
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One of the first challenges for ICA will be the Tour du Rwanda, which is scheduled to take place in March. Baron: “That is an important race for us, to emphasize our Israeli identity and highlight our social responsibility.”
Riders on the Israel Cycling Academy team can rely on support from the best staff, and will have an opportunity to learn, grow and enjoy their journey to success, according to Directeur Sportif Aviad Israel. “To further our mission to help riders become professionals on and off the bike, we will support the selected young cyclists with all our best efforts to reach this pro level.”
Dempster will continue to help further to develop the talent on the squad. “Some of the guys made good progress towards being competitive in Europe,” he says. “Therefore, it’s important we recognize that and commit to giving them the platform and the races needed to take the next step in their careers. All the while, concentrating on the next generation of prospects and focusing on effective processes in order to bridge the gap to becoming a world-class U23 cyclist.”
The team has made a number of changes to its roster for 2021, in order to commit to the U23 team standards.
The riders who will be racing in the colors of ICA this year are:
- Yuval Ben Moshe, Israel
- Edo Goldstein, Israel
- Lahav Davidzon, Israel
- Omer Lahav, Israel
- Sanad Abu-fares, Israel
- Kogut Oded, Israel
- Yuval Tsahor, Israel
- Rotem Tene, Israel
- Riley Pickrell, Canada
- Robin Plamondon, Canada
- Mason Hollyman, Great Britain
- Alastair McKellar, Australia
- Taj Jones, Australia
- Jakub Boucek, Czech Republic