Team has started the first organized training camp since Corona
Three days of intensive riding in northern Israel
Israel – the first country to allow it
The camp is held under strict rules, including social distancing, the use of masks, and body temperatures checkups
Team leaders: “This is the very first step toward resumption of the season”
Team eyeing opening more training camps in Europe when be allowed
Tel Aviv. May 12, 2020
Team Israel Start-Up Nation has started what is seen as the first organized training camp in pro cycling since the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the season and has brought it to a halt.
The three days intensive training camp in the northern roads of Israel has seen more than 12 riders of the WorldTour team and its “Israel Cycling Academy” Continental team riding together for the first time, conducting sprints and climbing drills – all scenes that have not been seen since the coronavirus crisis started more than two months ago.
Organizing the training camp was possible after the health authorities in Israel had lifted most of the restrictions that still exist in many European counties and thus far made it impossible to conduct serious team training towards a possible resumption of the season as planned by the UCI. “This is a testament to the forward-looking and astute Israeli management of this pandemic and our nation’s relatively low number of cases,” said ISN team owner Mr. Sylvan Adams who has joined his riders in the training camp, set in lodging cabins in Beit Hillel, a few dozen Km south of the Golan heights. Still, the Team conducted the training camp training under strict “Corona Virus rules” to make sure that it will not expose more than 20 of its participants – Riders, Mechanics, Soigneurs, and Coaches – to any risk. All participants had to sign a statement of a clean bill of health, body temperatures are being tested often, meals are delivered in boxes and eaten with strict social distancing, and all non-training activities like team meetings are held outdoors. Masseurs and other soigneurs wear masks when treating riders.
“The team is doing its utmost to protect us,” said ISN’s Israeli climber Guy Niv, “so I feel pretty safe.” His teammate, the Team’s Israeli young sprinter Itamar Einhorn admitted that the issue is on his mind: “Everything is much stricter. You bring your own set of bottles to the ride, and nobody else will touch them but you.”
For the riders, it was an opportunity; they waited what seemed to last forever: “it is priceless,” said Niv. “Being able to train together, race together to a sprint, or working on high speeds. This is something you can’t train alone or on home trainers. It enables you to reach levels that you can never reach otherwise”. His teammate Omer Goldstein admitted that in “the first group ride yesterday, I felt such a high it was unbelievable: it gave me a crazy boost of energy.” ICA team Manager Aviad Izrael who oversees the camp said after completing the second day of camp today, climbing the Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel: “I have never seen this kind of motivation in training before. The riders are just ecstatic. I guess that what happens after 2 months of Corona lockdown.”
The team sees the camp as a first step towards the renewal of the season and also a possible model for its preparations under Covid-19: “There are several hurdles to overcome before the season restarts and restrictions of movement between countries are the most crucial,” explained ISN pro manager Kjell Carlstrom. “It may be difficult to have a full team training camps as we have riders living all over the world. We may need to build several squads based on areas and which races they are selected to – and keep them together. For sure, it will be very complicated and challenging,” he said. Indeed: In its first camp this week, only Israeli riders have taken part, but even the Israeli champion Guy Sagiv who is living in its home-based in Girona – could not join his teammates in his home country.
But team owner Sylvan Adams was enthusiastic that his team was able to take the first step: “We look forward to similar improvements in other countries, as we prepare for the resumption of the race season, and our historic participation in the Tour de France, a first for our Israeli team.