It has been a full 64 years since a male Israeli road cyclist represented the country in the Olympics, but this unimaginable drought will finally end on August 3 when Israeli champion Itamar Einhorn takes his place on the start line in Paris.

Today, Einhorn was officially selected by the Israeli Cycling Federation, a choice that was hardly in doubt. After all, the sprinter from Modi’in is the first Israeli to achieve victories in high-level international professional races, and since the beginning of the year, he has already secured four wins in the Tour du Rwanda and the Tour de Taiwan.

Despite expecting the selection, Einhorn sounded excited when it became official: “Even though I’m used to competing in big races, reaching the Olympics is something else. There’s no athlete who doesn’t dream of being there, and it was my dream too. Representing the country in the road race after 64 years makes the event even more significant and more exciting — it’s definitely a very important milestone in my career.”

However, in Einhorn’s eyes, the importance of representing Israel, especially these days, is even more important less than the athletic achievement: “For me, representing Israel in the Olympics is a message of a nation aspiring for peace.”

The first and last Israelis to compete in road cycling in the Olympics were Henry Ohayon and Yitzhak (Jacques) Ben David, who did so at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Ohayon, who continued cycling into his 80s, was committed to encouraging his younger successors and hoped to see an Israeli road cyclist in the Olympics. Unfortunately, he passed away last year at the age of 89.

“I only met Henry once,” Einhorn shared. “We didn’t know each other well. But, of course, I’ve heard a lot about him. I’m very proud to be the first cyclist returning to the Olympics after such a long period.”

So why has an Israeli cyclist been absent from the Olympics for so many years, and how has this unflattering streak been broken now?

Einhorn attributes it to the change brought about by his team, Israel – Premier Tech, adding: “This wonderful project, which started 10 years ago, gave young Israeli riders the opportunity to compete at high levels and helped them develop. It indeed made a difference. We are seeing more and more Israelis at high levels, and here we are reaching the Olympics. But this process is still ongoing.”

The Olympic race will start on August 3 in Paris, on a tough 270-kilometer hilly course with a very small peloton—about 85 riders in total. Einhorn believes this fact will improve his chances of achieving a good result: “It will be very difficult to control the race, and I’m definitely counting on that.”

In addition to Einhorn, three more Israeli cyclists will race in the Paris Olympics in various categories: female road cyclist Rotem Gafinovitz (pictured below), track cyclist Mikhail Lakovlev, and mountain biker Tomer Zaltsman.

Sylvan Adams, the owner of the Israel – Premier Tech team, will be in Paris to cheer on Itamar and the other Israeli athletes.

Adams was excited about the selection, saying: “Congratulations to Itamar, for being the first Israeli man to compete in the Olympic cycling road race since the current demanding qualification criteria were established in the 1960s.

“I consider this to be validation of our Israel – Premier Tech ecosystem, which is offering Israelis such as Itamar the opportunity to compete at the highest level of the sport and earn qualification points to reach the Olympics.

“Itamar is truly deserving of this selection, as he is the only Israeli to win international road races at this level. Itamar has already won four races this year, and we are expecting even more success. I will travel to Paris to be with our Olympic athletes, and will cheer for Itamar during his competition. Good luck, Itamar.”