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BITTERSWEET SWISS CHOCOLATE | Israel Start-Up Nation

This is for all the ISN fans, and especially the legions of MIKE WOODS fans, who are still feeling the painful sting of watching the best rider of the day miss out on such a deserved victory in the last few meters. 

But tonight, writing this report, we are determined to not let this last bitter scene be what we remember most.

We would like to remember the most incredible scene of the day, just 20 minutes earlier, during the last few kilometers of the last of those still snow-covered majestic Swiss mountain passes. WOODSY suddenly going on the attack, escaping the GC group of fantastic climbers – going full gas but light as a feather. At that moment, it seemed as though nothing could hold him back, and, at the top – when he reached the summit all alone – it was picture-perfect.

 

That was Woods at his best, the rider who, since joining us at the beginning of the season, has become our brightest star. Full of confidence in himself, in his leadership, and his buddies. Today was such a great example of that as the whole team followed the plan to perfection. His fellow Canadians, Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli made sure that the breakaway would stay under control and left it to Woods to do the rest in the last few kilometers of the climb. 

Unfortunately, there were 15 kilometers left, mostly downhill, and although Woodsy was descending well, Swiss rider Gino Mäder (Team Bahrain Victorious) was able to catch up. The two went head-to-head in a duel to the finish. 

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 8th stage Andermatt – Andermatt 159,5 km – 13/06/2021 – Passo del Gottardo – Michael Woods (NZL – Israel Start-Up Nation) – Mattia Cattaneo (ITA – Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – photo Annegret Turk/BettiniPhoto©2021

That was where the “perfection” of this scene ended.

Explained Woods, “The plan was to open the sprint with 400 meters to go, and I followed the plan and went. But, in retrospect, of course, I opened the sprint too early.

“Although it was a good day overall, I’m disappointed with second place.

“I wanted to win, especially off the back of all the great teamwork, to reward everybody, but otherwise, it was a good week. I think I’m in a really good spot right now.”

ISN’s sports director Dirk Demol agreed: 

“What an excellent rider he is, always willing to take the initiative and attack. He did it the whole race, with the team backing him up. Look at his results: second and third in stages, fifth overall, and the king of the mountain jersey! I am proud of Mike, and I am proud of the boys.”

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 8th stage Andermatt – Andermatt 159,5 km – 13/06/2021 – Michael Woods (NZL – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Peter De Voecht/PN/BettiniPhoto©2021

— Tsadok to israelcyclingacademy.com

Israel Start-Up Nation brings strong, balanced team to Tour de Hongrie

  • Itamar Einhorn starts his 2021-season: ‘Finally’
  • Ben Moshe joins WorldTour-team for first time: ‘Worked for this for long time’.
  • Pridham from Rwanda to Hungary: ‘Great adventure’

Israel Start-Up Nation returns to the Tour de Hongrie. The race that Israel Cycling Academy won in 2019 with Krists Neilands, features the return of Israeli sprinter Itamar Einhorn and the WorldTour-team debut of Yuval Ben Moshe.

Back from knee injury

Einhorn suffered a knee injury at the beginning of the season, so the sprinter took time for his recovery, did some races on the track, and is returning to begin his road competition for the 2021-season in Hungary.

Recovering from the knee injury took Einhorn longer than expected, he says. “However, now I feel like I am ready to race on the road again. This race will be special and I can imagine that I have to get used to the peloton feeling once again.”

“From my experiences on the track over the last few weeks, I do know that I am on the right way,” Einhorn continues. “We are going to Hungary with a number of fast guys, and I am looking forward to racing with them. I see the Tour de Hongrie as a build-up to bigger races yet to come.”

Ben Moshe introduced to WorldTour-team

The Tour de Hongrie also means Yuval Ben Moshe’s WorldTour debut. The Israeli sprinter is excited to get a chance to show himself.

“I am really looking forward to the Tour de Hongrie,” Ben Moshe says. “With the continental riders who are living in Girona, I have been training a lot. We motivate each other, especially when we share each other’s stories about racing.”

Ben Moshe: “Getting the chance to race in the WorldTour-colors is something I have been looking forward to, and worked for, for a long time.”

“For us, as continental team-riders, it is an amazing thing that we can sometimes race with the WorldTour-team,” Ben Moshe says. “We gain experience and I am sure that I will learn a lot during the week in Hungary.”

Mixture of riders

Sports director Dirk Demol says Israel Start-Up Nation has a balanced team. “We bring powerhouses, youngsters, experienced riders, sprinters, and a good climber. There is a large variety in the stages and we will play our cards accordingly.”

Demol will be accompanied by Cherie Pridham. The first female sports director in the WorldTour has a busy racing schedule and traveled straight from the Tour du Rwanda to the Tour de Hongrie.

“Rwanda was a great adventure,” she says, “especially having the community #RacingForChange projects. I am sure the Tour de Hongrie will be a nice race too.”

Israel Start-Up Nation’s line up for Tour de Hongrie:

  • Ben Hermans
  • Rudy Barbier
  • Itamar Einhorn
  • Taj Jones
  • Tom Van Asbroeck
  • Yuval Ben Moshe

Sports directors: Dirk Demol and Cherie Pridham
Tour de Hongrie: 12-16 May

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com