Israel Start-Up Nation to be first Israeli team in Tour de France,
as UCI announces the team’s WorldTour status
Tel Aviv, December 11, 2019
Israel will send a team to the Tour de France for the first time under the new team name Israel Start-Up Nation. The UCI confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the Israel Cycling Academy had received WorldTour status.
The team was presented in Tel Aviv today to the public, media and ambassadors from all over the world, in an impressive ceremony.
“The dream of competing in the Tour de France, almost unthinkable only five years ago when we launched the team, is now coming true. A professional team with world class Israeli riders alongside the finest international talents, racing with pride in one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. Around 3.5 billion viewers in hundreds of countries across the world will see the Israeli flag and hear the message that this is a country bringing unrivalled innovation to the world,” said Israeli Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams, co-owner of the team.
The team will feature 30 cyclists, including four Israeli riders announced today for the first time: Itamar Einhorn, Omer Goldstein, Guy Niv, and Guy Sagiv. “It will definitely be a challenge for them. They have progressed every season, but next season they will have to do it again and this time it will be a new kind of level. I am confident, though, that they will reach it”. The 4 Israeli riders selected to the team, Guy Sagiv, Guy Niv, Omer Goldstein and Itamar Einhorn made history as the first Israelis in a WorldTour team. Sagiv and Niv already successfully finished Grand Tours during in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The new sponsor for the Israel Cycling Academy is Start-Up Nation Central, a Tel Aviv-based non-profit organization that connects companies around the world to Israeli innovation.
As a member of the WorldTour, Israel-Start Up Nation will become the first-ever Israeli team to compete in the Tour de France, the world’s third most watched sporting events. In order to compete at the highest level, the team has signed such outstanding and experienced riders including Andre Greipel, Dan Martin and Dani Navarro.
Participation in the Tour de France represents the enormous progress made by Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) over just five years. ICA was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem as Israel’s first professional cycling team, with a clear vision to help Israeli cycling and to bring young cyclists, to the highest level of the sport. At the same time, riders from the team act as “ambassadors” for the home country, demonstrating a vision of peace through sport.
There will be another new logo on the team kit, the symbol of the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation. “We deeply appreciate and are honored that Israel Start-Up Nation riders carry the symbol of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. We are confident that the riders will represent it with pride and honor and carry the values of peace and tolerance around the world in the world’s most important races. We ask you, the riders, to see the Peres Centre of Peace and Innovation as your home wherever you race,” said Efrat Duvdevani, Director of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation
In 2017 the team moved up to the Pro Continental ranks and in 2018 the team raced in its first Grand Tour – the historic Giro d’Italia which started in Jerusalem. ICA raced again in the Giro d’Italia in 2019. This same season, the team significantly stepped up its racing performance and recorded 29 wins.
ICA carries 30 riders from 16 different nationalities. The team is owned by Israeli Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams and Israeli businessman Ron Baron. Taking a minority interest this year is Kevin Lam, a Canadian, via his company, Reinvent.com.
“There are no illusions on our part: WorldTour races are very hard and the teams are top level. We need to be ready and be competitive and race hard every single race, and score points. We are determined to climb in the ranking as far as possible,” said Sport Director Kell Carlstrom.
Israel Cycling Academy Continental Team
In addition, there will be an Israel Cycling Academy Continental-ranked team in 2020, made up of eight Israeli riders and eight talented young riders from around the world. The new team will serve as a feeder of talent to the WorldTour Israel Start-Up Nation team.
“This team will ensure that we will still be giving the young riders the opportunity to develop and advance to the Pro team” said Israel Cycling Academy founder and co-owner Ron Baron.
Besides the Israelis, the team will consist of young riders from Canada and Australia and the Moroccan rider El Mehdi Chokri. The 24-year old is the current national TT champion and rode for the Dimension Data U23 Team during the past few years. It will be the first time that a rider from an Arab country will ride for an Israeli Team. Chokri has been nominated for the title ‘best African cyclist of 2019’.
The Israel-Start Up Nation (Israel Cycling Academy) WorldTour team roster:
The team roster: Matteo Badiletti (Switzerland), Rudy Barbier (France), Jenthe Biermans (Belgium), Guillaume Bovin (Canada), Matthias Brändle (Austria), Alexander Cataford (Canada), Davide Cimolai (Italy), Alex Dowsett (Great Britian), Itamar Einhorn (Israel), Omer Goldstein (Israel), Andre Greipel (Germany), Ben Hermans (Belgium), Hugo Hofstetter (France), Reto Hollenstein (Austria), Dan Martin (Ireland), Travis McCabe (USA), Daniel Navarro (Spain), Krists Neilands (Latvia), Guy Niv (Israel), James Piccoli (Canada), Nils Politt (Germany), Mihkel Räim (Estonia), Alexis Renard (France), Guy Sagiv (Israel), Patrick Schelling (Switzerland), Rory Sutherland (Australia), Norman Vahtra (Estonia), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark) and Rick Zabel (Germany).