Israel makes it debut on Tour de France

December 12, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The first-ever Israeli team is to compete in the next Tour de France.

The team announcement

The cycling spectacle is the worlds third most-watched sporting event, after the quadrennial Summer Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup and will showcase Israeli innovation to billions of television viewers.   

Israel Cycling Academy has announced its partnership with Start-Up Nation Central, a Tel Aviv-based non-profit organisation that connects companies around the world to Israeli innovation.

Under the name ISRAEL START-UP NATION, the team will compete on cycling’s biggest stage for the very first time, as a new entrant in the World Tour. 

The team includes Australian Rory Sutherland.

Participation in the Tour de France represents the enormous progress made by Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) over just five years. ICA was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem as Israels first professional cycling team, with a clear vision to help Israeli cycling and to bring young cyclists, to the highest level of the sport. At the same time, riders from the team act as ambassadors” for the home country, demonstrating a vision of peace through sport.

The 2017 season was the teams first in the second-tier Pro Continental ranks and in 2018 the team raced in its first Grand Tour – the historic Giro dItalia which started in Jerusalem. ICA raced again in the Giro dItalia in 2019. This same season, the team significantly stepped up its racing performance and recorded 29 wins.

Israel Start-Up Nation carries 30 riders from 16 different nationalities. The team will include four Israeli riders announced today for the first time: Itamar Einhorn, Omer Goldstein, Guy Niv, and Guy Sagiv. In order to be challenge on the World Tour, Israel Start-Up Nation has also signed some of the sport’s most experienced riders including Andre Greipel, Dan Martin and Dani Navarro.

The team is owned by Israeli Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams and Israeli businessman Ron Baron. Taking a minority interest this year is Kevin Lam, a Canadian, via his company,

The dream of competing in the Tour de France, almost unthinkable only 5 years ago when we launched the team, is now coming true. A professional team with world class Israeli riders alongside the finest international talents, racing with pride in one of the worlds most prestigious sporting events. Around 3.5 billion viewers in hundreds of countries across the world will see the Israeli flag and hear the message that this is a country bringing unrivalled innovation to the world,” said Sylvan Adams, the team’s co-owner.

By partnering with Start-Up Nation Central, we are showcasing the Israeli tech ecosystem on a global stage, sending a clear message that this is a country with so much to offer the world. I have no doubt that cutting-edge Israeli technology will give our team a competitive advantage as we race against the very best in world cycling,” continued Adams.

Our goal is to get Israels powerful tech ecosystem behind the cycling team, as it becomes a formidable competitor, and leverage the knowledge gained from testing these technologies on Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team to benefit other athletic teams,” said Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO, Start-Up Nation Central (SNC).

With a population of approximately 9 million people, Israel has the most start-ups and the highest venture investment per capita in the world. “This is a potential force multiplier that the Israel Cycling Academy can tap into,” Prof. Kandel added.  

The Israel Cycling Academy and SNC will collaborate to connect the athletes to the innovators and entrepreneurs that will be able to make a material impact on their performance. Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team will connect with relevant Israeli start-ups with the goal of:

1. Enhancing the performance of the Israeli cycling team 

2. Accelerating research and development of sports innovations in general and for cycling in particular and bringing these innovations to the attention of a global audience

3. Expanding the reach of relevant innovations arising from this collaboration, specifically in health, wellness, fitness, sleep improvement, physical rehabilitation, mental conditioning, nutrition, water management, Augmented Reality, new materials, and safety technologies, beyond the sporting world.

Start-Up Nation Central builds bridges to Israeli innovation, connecting business, government, and NGO leaders from around the world to the Israeli tech ecosystem through highly customized business engagements and the Start-Up Nation Finder–an easy to use, up-to-date, free online platform for discovering and connecting with thousands of relevant innovators. 

Start-Up Nation Central identifies technological sectors with high growth potential and helps them develop to maturity. Currently focused on the Digital Health, AgriFoodtech and Industry 4.0 sectors, the organization exposes them to global audiences, helping them develop practical tools, attracting investors, and establishing and nurturing tech communities to increase collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and skill expansion.

In addition to the partnership with Start-Up Nation Central, the ICA riders will continue to serve as Peres Center for Peace and Innovation “Peace Ambassadors,” a title they were bestowed in 2018. The Center’s logo will appear on their uniform to help spread a message of peace and coexistence.

Efrat Duvdevani, Director of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation said: “Shimon Peres always said that to strive for peace and innovation, one always needs to look forward, with eyes on the target and not stop for a moment. This is exactly what these cyclists do, with their eyes fixed on the goal ahead, while their legs never stop peddling.  And so, we are thankful that the Israel Cycling Academy team rides with the symbol of the Peres Center of Peace and Innovation on their shoulders. We are sure that you will proudly carry the values of peace, innovation and tolerance on your shoulders and feel that with them, the sky is the limit. Please see the Peres Center as your home, now and forever.”

The Israel Start-up Nation (Israel Cycling Academy) Pro Tour team roster to compete in the 2020 World Tour:

The team roster: Matteo Badiletti (Switzerland), Rudy Barbier (France), Jenthe Biermans (Belgium), Guillaume Bovin (Canada), Matthias Brändle (Austria), Alexander Cataford (Canada), Davide Cimolai (Italy), Alex Dowsett (Great Britain), Itamar Einhorn (Israel), Omer Goldstein (Israel), Andre Greipel (Germany), Ben Hermans (Belgium), Hugo Hofstetter (France), Reto Hollenstein (Austria), Dan Martin (Ireland), Travis McCabe (USA), Daniel Navarro (Spain), Krists Neilands (Latvia), Guy Niv (Israel), James Piccoli (Canada), Nils Politt (Germany), Mihkel Räim (Estonia), Alexis Renard (France), Guy Sagiv (Israel), Patrick Schelling (Switzerland), Rory Sutherland (Australia), Norman Vahtra (Estonia), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark) and Rick Zabel, (Germany).

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