Nine of our “New Generation” riders will be facing the ultimate test in their young careers at the Tour de L’Avenir, starting on Sunday.

This 8-day race, which spans nine stages in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, is often dubbed the “Tour De France for the U-23s”. There’s ample evidence to support this title; the best young riders in the world have tested their mettle in the Tour de L’Avenir over its 58 editions. Moreover, the race’s top victors have risen to the pinnacle of the sport, clinching 15 Tour de France titles. The latest? Tadej Pogacar, just five years ago.

“We are certainly plunging our ‘kids’ into deep waters,” says Aviad Izrael, the longtime leader of the Israel – Premier Tech Academy development project. Izrael particularly highlights the six young Israeli riders who will compete under the banner of “Team Israel”. This marks the first occasion that the Israeli National team will participate in the race, alongside 24 other national teams. This roster includes powerhouses such as France, Belgium, Australia and the USA. In fact, the Israelis (all but one hail from the IPT Cycling Academy) will be racing against some familiar teammates, Australian Alastair Mackellar, Canadian Riley Pickrell, and Israel – Premier Tech’s own American, Matthew Riccitello.

Turning our focus to the Israelis and the highest-quality race they’ve ever confronted as a team, Aviad, who will helm their journey as their Sports Director in the coming week, believes this is a pivotal moment for Israeli cycling. “I hope it serves as an inspiration for the upcoming generation of Israeli riders, especially those aged 15 to 17. I want them to see this as their guiding star. They, too, can race here in the forthcoming years, on the grandest of stages.”

As anticipated, the race promises to be dominated by climbs. The final three stages, as well as the individual time trial, will culminate in climbs. Only one stage (the second, on Monday) is set to end with a classic sprint. Naturally, this is the day when Israeli sprinter Oded Kogut, and Canadian Riley Pickrell, pin their hopes for victory. “In Team Israel we’re all aware of the challenge ahead,” commented Kogut, “but we’re undeterred. We aim to be highly active in every stage. Otherwise, what’s the point of reaching this milestone?”

One of the standout names in the race is our 21-year-old climbing prodigy, Matthew Riccitello. He’s pegged to be one of Team USA’s leaders. Aviad is confident that Riccitello could be a formidable contender in the general classification battle. Matthew, who left a lasting impression during his Giro d’Italia debut, isn’t shying away from the challenge: “I’ve been itching to compete in this race since I began cycling, especially after having to depart prematurely last year. We have several shots at stage victories, and I’m setting my sights on the overall title. I can’t wait to get started!”

Team Israel:
Nadav Raisberg (22)
Jonathan Abudraham (18)
Rotem Tene (22)
Oded Kogut (22)
Imry Faingezicht (20)
Aviv Bental (20)

IPT Riders In Other National Teams:

Team Canada:
Riley Pickrell (22)

Team Australia:

Alastair Mackellar (21)

Team USA:
Matthew Riccitello (21)