An emotional Riley Pickrell described (or rather, nearly shouted) the race as “crazy,” and for good reason. A nail-biting finish on the Tour de l’Avenir’s second stage saw three of IPT’s top young sprinters duelling head to head.
At the conclusion of this fierce contest, it was so tight that race organizers resorted to the photo-finish camera. It confirmed the 22-year-old Canadian as the victor, while his IPT Israeli teammates, Rotem Tene and Oded Kogut, clinched 3rd and 4th respectively.
“It’s surreal. I’m over the moon. This is the pinnacle of my career,” gushed the Canadian before his podium appearance. He was quick to commend his Israeli colleagues from the Israeli National Team, asserting, “I’m immensely proud of them. Today was a triumphant day for all of us.”
The “All in the Family” skirmish at the finale was a dream scenario come true. But bringing it to life required immense exertion from both the Israeli and Canadian National Teams. On the scorching 195 kilometer route, hydration was crucial. In the last 30 km, both squads fiercely pursued every breakaway. As the final kilometer loomed, the spotlight was on Riley and the Israeli duo.
Pickrell shared, “Team Israel executed a powerful lead-out, and I tapped into their momentum. It was an intense sprint with Rotem Tene and Oded Kogut, but I clinched the top spot.”
Understandably, the Israelis felt a pang of disappointment. Yet they found solace knowing it was their IPT colleague who claimed the trophy. “We faltered a bit in the sprint,” conceded Israeli team sports director Aviad Izrael. “With flawless execution, it could’ve been a landmark win for Israeli Cycling although a podium here is no small thing. But we’re elated for Riley and IPT. The victory remained at home.”