His childhood dream realized :
Israeli champion Omer Goldstein will race in the Tour de France
His TDF will “start” early: First, he will fight to defend his champion’s jersey this Saturday in Israel.
Rik Verbrugghe : “Omer is an ‘offensive’ rider. He will help us in breakaways and much more.”
Omer: “I want to be ‘in the Game'”
Tells about a special bond with Froome : “He gave me a lot of tips and advice. He is a great fighter. Will surprise many.”
Israeli champion Omer Goldstein (24) will race for Israel Start-Up Nation in the Tour de France.
It will be the first time that the versatile Israeli puncher from the north of Israel will race on the most prominent racing stage in the world, fulfilling what he called, “A dream I had since I was a kid. I always imagined myself being there in the front in a mountain stage breakaway, going for it, not really concerned if they catch me or not, as long as I am going full gas and giving it all.”
In a way, this combative approach to racing is one of the reasons that the team’s pro-management decided that the young Goldstein will be an excellent fit for ISN’s lineup in the Tour this year. “Omer is what I call an ‘offensive rider’,” explained Rik Verbrugghe, ISN’s sports manager. “He is always ready to jump on a challenge with absolutely no fear. But much beyond that, we selected Omer because he can give the team a lot in the Tour in so many ways. Of course, his main task will be to assist our leader, Mike Woods, but he can be our man in a breakaway and, if the opportunity comes, he can get a great result. And in mid-range mountain stages, he can be there in a selected group going to the finish. Omer has shown significant progress, and he fully deserves our trust in him.”
Indeed, in every stage that he raced this year – from the UAE Tour to the Tour of Catalunya to Dauphine – Goldstein has proved to be one of the most aggressive riders in the ISN lineup. “I love to be part of the game,” explained Omer. “Of course, the Tour de France is the biggest race of all, and the stress in the peloton will be different. But I am confident that I am ready to help the team and have an impact on our quest to support Mike and get a stage win.”
Omer has developed a special bond with the TDF legend, Chris Froome, this season, spending weeks together in altitude training camps and racing alongside each other in a four-stage race. He said he is enthusiastic and proud to race with Froome in the Tour, saying “I respect him so much, he has been a quiet mentor. Advising me. Talking to me about the little details that can make a difference. I just love to race and train with Froomey. He is such a great fighter. Never underestimate him. He is on the up and I believe can surprise in the Tour.”
His first challenge, though, will arise this coming Saturday, a whole week before the Tour: the Israeli championships. This will be the scene of a great battle between ISN’s top Israelis for the title that is owned (for three more days) by Omer: “I want to represent my country in the Tour, wearing the champions jersey,” said Omer. “I will do my best to defend my title Saturday, but I can guarantee nothing. My Israeli teammates will do everything to win it, and that’s how it should be.”
Omer’s most enthusiastic and proudest fan in the Tour will be, no doubt, the team’s co-owner, Sylvan Adams, who said, “Omer’s rapid progress as a rider has validated all of ISN’s efforts in developing Israeli cyclists. Omer graduated just a couple of years ago from our U23 Israel Cycling Academy to become a solid WorldTour pro. He will race in his first Tour de France as invaluable support to team leader, Mike Woods. Yalla Omer, all of Israel will be watching and rooting for you!”