Imagine you are a young rider with dreams of becoming a top professional cyclist. Your first goal: securing a spot on a pro team.

So, what do you do to take a big step forward in that direction? One of the best ways is to prove you belong with a solid performance in the top under-23 race, the Giro d’Italia Next Gen.

“I can’t think of a more challenging test for young and upcoming riders,” says our young Israeli sport director, Lahav Davidzon, who will lead our Israel – Premier Tech Academy boys in the eight-stage race. It starts tomorrow in Aosta, near the foot of the Italian Alps. “It has all the ingredients: top-notch riders and the best under-23 teams, three summit finishes, a time trial, a classic sprint day, two tricky punchy stages, and a circuit to finish it off. Basically, it’s the ultimate test.”

That either sounds scary or exciting. Maybe both.

Take Imry Faingezicht, perhaps our most promising Israeli talent. He joined the Academy only a few months ago but has shown rapid progress. Now, he is being thrown into the deep waters of the Baby Giro.

He says: “Of course, I have some goosebumps facing this challenge just four months into my first year, but I see this as a show of trust and an indication that I am doing well. Maybe I am even surprising myself a bit. I realize it’s a huge step to take, but my mindset is that I am not here to survive but to help the team and even get a chance to shine, possibly on a breakaway day.”

The team strategy here is to be competitive in the GC with two of our most talented young riders: the Spaniard Pau Marti and the Portuguese Daniel Lima. Both are only 19 but are in great shape. Marti recently impressed with a third-place finish in Flèche Ardennaise, and the team, led by sports director Ruben Plaza, is hoping to fight for a top 10 in the GC. The four other teammates will protect the climbers but look for their own opportunities, especially the promising German Moritz Kretschy.

IPT Academy at Giro Next Gen (June 9 – 16)

Riders: Imry Faingezicht (ISR), Alvaro Garcia (ESP), Moritz Kretschy (GER), Daniel Lima (POR), Pau Marti Soriano (ESP), Luke Valenti (CAN)

Sports Directors: Ruben Plaza (ESP), Lahav Davidson (ISR)