When the 107th edition of the Giro d’Italia kicks off this Saturday in Torino, Israel – Premier Tech will be looking to take care of unfinished business.

After an inspiring race in 2023, which saw the team’s young riders, led by Canadian Derek Gee, light up the race on a daily basis to finish in the top-five on nine occasions, IPT is determined to secure the stage win that eluded the team last year.

“Last year, the Giro d’Italia was a turning point for Israel – Premier Tech,” says Sports Director Rene Andrle. “We may not have won a stage but the way the team rode was nothing short of inspiring and coming so close to a victory on so many occasions has made us even hungrier this year. We have a strong team of opportunists and we will be targeting stage wins once again.”

While last year’s hero of the Giro, Derek Gee – who won the hearts of cycling fans around the world by coming second on four occasions – will focus on other objectives this year, IPT has assembled a dynamic and versatile team to hunt for stage wins across the three weeks.

Andrle adds: “The experience of guys like Mike Woods, Simon Clarke, and Nick Schultz will be instrumental and I think all three riders can win a stage. Marco Frigo has the added motivation of racing on home soil, we have Hugo Hofstetter racing his first Giro d’Italia, while Riley Pickrell, Nadav Raisberg, and Ethan Vernon are set to line up at their first Grand Tour.

“Ethan, Hugo, and Riley give us multiple cards to play in the sprint stages and I really think we have a team that can win on all terrain. We are excited for the next three weeks of racing and hope to race as aggressively as we did last year.”

After a sensational win at the Tour de France last year, Woods returns to the Giro d’Italia after a six-year hiatus looking to complete the trifecta of Grand Tour stage wins.

“It’s been six years since I have been to the Giro and I’m really excited to be doing it again,” explains Woods, “I’ve had a tough start to the season with some illness but I feel like that is finally behind me and now it’s time for one of the coolest races on the calendar.

“My big ambition for the race will be stage hunting. Particularly with the illness that I’ve had in the last few months, I will aim to have a conservative start and then look for stages later on as the race progresses. So hopefully I can find some form in the early stages and then be aggressive and bag a stage win by the end of the race.”

As one of IPT’s trio of Grand Tour debutants, Ethan Vernon (pictured above) is approaching the Giro d’Italia as a learning experience however, having already opened his 2024 account with a stage win at Tour des Alpes Maritimes, Vernon is keen to test his legs in the sprints.

“I’m really excited for my first Grand Tour,” says Vernon. “I think it’s going to be a really good learning experience for future years. To be lining up alongside experienced guys like Simon Clarke and Mike Woods and be able to ask them questions will be really valuable.

“Personally, I want to use this as a big training block ahead of the Olympics and an opportunity to build experience. I’m excited to get stuck into some of the sprints with Hugo and Riley. There are a few sprint stages I like the look of and also the two time trials. The type of training I have been doing recently should suit them.”

Since the team’s first Giro d’Italia in 2018, with the historic Grande Partenza in Israel, IPT has developed a special relationship with the first Grand Tour of the season, including stage wins courtesy of Alex Dowsett in 2020 and Dan Martin in 2021, and Alessandro De Marchi’s stint in the Maglia Rosa in 2021.

After enjoying the most successful start to the season in IPT’s 10-year history with 15 victories so far, there is no shortage of determination to add to the team’s Giro d’Italia palmarès.

IPT at the Giro d’Italia (Saturday May 4 – Sunday May 26)

Riders: Simon Clarke (AUS), Marco Frigo (ITA), Hugo Hostetter (FRA), Riley Pickrell (CAN), Nadav Raisberg (ISR), Nick Schultz (AUS), Ethan Vernon (GBR), Mike Woods (CAN)

Sports Directors: Rene Andrle (CZE), Rene Mandri (EST), Oscar Guerrero (ESP)