The entire Israel Start-Up Nation team travels to the country

Members of the Israel Start-Up Nation professional cycling team, now in the world’s top 10, will arrive in Israel on Friday after a two-year “exile” caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The cyclists will celebrate their return to Israel with a busy week-long bonding camp across the country, which will include a reception with the President, tours of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as well as social opportunities to meet fans and the next generation of young Israeli horsemen.

The team, which will land in Israel with its full roster of riders, is one of the highest ranked in the WorldTour and recently finished a successful season with 17 wins, including victories in some of the biggest and most famous races in the world. These achievements brought the team to ninth place in the world rankings, the first time in the team’s history to rank in the top 10.

A special reception will be held at the residence of Israeli President Isaac Herzog in the presence of team owners Sylvan Adams and Ron Baron on Sunday noon. This will be the first opportunity for the team to present its roster, which includes several renowned drivers who have joined the roster for the upcoming season. The riders, led by Christopher Froome, will be available for media interviews during the event.

“I really want to finally be able to visit Israel. Throughout this year, I have truly felt the heartwarming support of Israeli fans and I can’t wait to meet them in person and thank them for all their support, ”Froome said prior to the visit.

The shadow of the coronavirus has loomed over the team, which was forced to cancel its training camp in Israel last season and has competed in hundreds of races under strict “bubble” guidelines that were imposed on the entire industry. But it is highly symbolic that this first sign of “getting back to normal” comes from Israel.

“The format and schedule of this camp have changed this year. It will take place a month earlier than in previous years and it will be more of a bonding and tourism camp, with just a couple of days of driving, including a day with our Israeli fans, “said Adams.

ISRAEL START-UP NATION co-owner Sylvan Adams (left) and team newcomer and cycling legend Chris Froome ride together for a workout. (credit: VELO IMAGES)

“We wanted our team to really experience the country, and we found that a December camp put a lot of stress on our riders so they could participate enough to prepare for the following season.

“This will be a more relaxed camp and will allow the team to experience some of the wonders of Israel. I am sure this approach will be well received and I look forward to reconnecting with the old gang and meeting newer members of our team while serving as a tour guide. “

The country, which is now opening its doors to foreign tourism, has allowed the fully vaccinated team, cyclists and staff to come to the Holy Land for a visit, which for many of them will be the first opportunity to get to know the country. up close and personal. For this reason, unlike previous visits, the team will not focus on training, but on meetings and special tours of the country.

“We consider ourselves ambassadors for beautiful Israel in each of our hundreds of races around the world,” said Adams. “Therefore, it is very important to me that our international cyclists can experience for themselves some of the wonderful places of our country.”

ISN Sports Manager Rik Verbrugghe declared the value of structuring the camp to emphasize team unity saying, “Everyone will commit 100 percent.”

Many of the visits and informal meetings with Israelis will take place, as expected for a team of professional cyclists, on two wheels.

On Saturday, the team will travel from Jerusalem to the top of Ness Harim in the Judean Hills, the largest gathering destination for cyclists in Israel, to host a 10 a.m. coffee stop at Bar Bahar and meet face to face with the team. fans. During the visit, international and Israeli stars will also meet young cyclists to discuss cycling and racing and even visit schools in the north. In addition, the team will perform at the Expo the day before the Ironman competition on November 12 that features more than 2,000 competitors.

“It is very important to all of us that young Israeli cyclists know that they can go as far as possible with talent and hard work,” said one of the team’s Israeli cyclists, Guy Niv, who fulfilled this dream himself when he became the first Israeli to finish the Tour de France with Israel Start-Up Nation in the 2020 season.

Niv, a resident of Atzmon, will lead the team on a walk through the Golan Heights alongside his Israeli teammates, who have made impressive progress in the past year. Itamar Einhorn, the Israeli who achieved a historic first this year in the professional peloton when he defeated former world champion Peter Sagan in his home race in Slovakia, said: “I am always excited to show our riders what the country has to offer. “.

The team is a major tourism ambassador to Israel and as part of the sponsorship agreement with the Ministry of Tourism, symbols of the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem adorn the jockeys’ uniforms. Following Sunday’s event with President Herzog in Jerusalem, the team will visit Yad Vashem before moving to Tel Aviv, where the runners will visit the Sylvan Adams National Velodrome, the first facility of its kind in the Middle East. The Velodrome will host the next UCI Track Champions League.

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