Itamar Einhorn was crowned the new Israeli road race champion, but the route to the finish line was marked by an extraordinary sportsmanship gesture.
Seven kilometers before the end of the championship race, which took place in the northern Golan Heights today, four senior riders from Israel – Premier Tech pressed forward, leaving the peloton behind.
Suddenly, Itamar Einhorn, the team’s powerful sprinter, lost focus and crashed.
“It was my fault,” Einhorn later said. “The commissaire’s car distracted me and I did not notice that Omer Goldstein had cut to the left – I found myself on the asphalt.”
Was that the end for Itamar? Surprisingly, no. When he recovered enough to climb back onto his bike, he discovered that his friends and teammates Omer Goldstein, Guy Sagiv, and Guy Niv, had waited for him instead of pushing on forward and likely securing the podium positions for themselves.
The battle reopened
It was not an obvious decision, especially since the three knew that in doing so they were giving a clear chance to their most dangerous opponent. The flat finish combined with Itamar’s ability to accelerate did not bode well for them.
Itamar: “It was not an obvious gesture and I really appreciate what they did.”
After returning to his comrades, the battle reopened.
Itamar continued and described the emotional finale, “They attacked me again and again, but I gave everything and managed to beat them in a sprint and get the champion’s jersey. This, of course, very emotional as it’s my first Elite Championship. But I must say that my friends’ gesture has moved me deeply. “
It ended up being a clean sweep for Israel – Premier Tech. Einhorn was joined on the podium by Guy Sagiv in second, and Omer Goldstein, who took the national time trial champion’s jersey yesterday and will take the line at the Tour de France this coming Friday.
Pics: Itamar Grinberg