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ISN brings Israelis, sprinter and GC-competitor to first edition Settimana Ciclistica Italiana

Israel Start-Up Nation will compete in the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana. For the first edition of the stage race on Sardinia, the team brings Ben Hermans as its GC-competitor, Rudy Barbier in the role of sprinter, and two Israeli riders: Guy Niv and Guy Sagiv.

The Italian race features five stages. It will be ‘race on’ for Hermans as GC-contender directly from the opening stage, while Barbier will be looking forward to the third and final stages.

Giro dell’Appennino 2021 – 82nd Edition – Pasturana – Genova 192 km – 24/06/2021 – Ben Hermans (BEL – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021

The Belgian climber was on a roll at the end of last month when he won the Giro dell’Appennino and finished on the podium in the Gran Premio di Lugano.

“From there I was able to keep on working on my fitness,” Hermans said before the start of the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana. “There are no real uphill finishes this week on Sardinia, but the parcours seems diverse enough to make differences.”

The two Israelis in the lineup both spent a lot of time at altitude, during ISN’s training camp in Livigno. The stage race on Sardinia is their first race after the camp.

Giro d’Italia 2021 – 104th Edition – 15th stage Grado – Gorizia 147 km – 22/05/2021 – Guy Niv (ISR – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Guy Niv, the first Israeli rider to finish the Tour de France, worked on his shape during that camp. “After finishing the Giro d’Italia, I rested well, did the national championships in Israel, and then started preparing for my second part of the season. I am looking back on a successful training camp in Livigno. I find racing in Italy always fun, so I am excited to race again.”

Guy Sagiv is also looking forward to the second part of his season. Just like Niv, he competed in the Israeli national championships before starting his build-up towards mid- and late-season goals. “Livigno was good to me,” he said. “We spent a lot of time on the bike and finished a very good training block at altitude. A training camp like we had there is exactly the impulse I need to be ready for another block of racing.”

La Fleche Wallonne 2021 – 85th Edition – Charleroi – Mur de Huy 193,6 km – 21/04/2021 – Guy Sagiv (ISR – Israel Start-Up Nation) – Reto Hollenstein (SUI – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

Barbier returns to racing after two months without. “It has been a long time, indeed, which makes me very keen on pinning a bib number on.” Barbier was also in Livigno. “I have enjoyed my time and I am ready to race.”

Israel Start-Up Nation’s line up for Settimana Ciclistica Italiana (14/07 – 18/07):

  • Guy Niv
  • Guy Sagiv
  • Ben Hermans
  • Sep Vanmarcke
  • Rudy Barbier
  • Sebastian Berwick
  • Krists Neilands

Sports directors: Claudio Cozzi & Dror Pekatch

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Greipel chosen to be ISN’s sprinter in Tour de France

Sprinting on the Champs-Élysées is something else. It is that last burst of power after 21 days of tough racing in the biggest cycling race in the world. It is that last chance to claim a very important stage victory while millions of people are watching live on television. It is that memory of winning in the city center of Paris that keeps André Greipel hungry. Hungry for racing his 11th Tour de France.

“I am proud to be part of this line-up, especially given the other strong riders in this team.”

Since 2011, his first Tour de France, André Greipel has not missed a single Tour. Eleven times he could celebrate over and after the finish line of a stage. From last year’s edition however, the German sprinter does not have many great memories, after having crashed severely in the wet and very slippery opening stage in Nice.

Seventeen stages Greipel kept going, trying to recover from the injuries sustained in that unfortunate moment in Nice. On the eighteenth day he could not hold on anymore, missing out on a chance of reliving his memories from 2015 and 2016 of winning on the Champs-Élysées.

Challenge Mallorca 2021 – Trofeo Alcudia-Port d’Alcudia – Alcudia – Alcudia 169 km – 16-05-2021 – Andre Greipel (GER – Israel Start-Up Nation) – Alexander Kristoff (NOR – UAE Team Emirates) – photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2021

He decided after that particular Grand Boucle to focus on the Giro d’Italia in 2021. However, after a sequence of events, Greipel finds himself in the Tour-squad once again.

“Not quite as planned beforehand,” Greipel says, “but not less fun. I feel very well in shape at the moment. I am ready for an 11th Tour de France.”

This season, we saw Greipel putting his arms in the air again in Spain. He won one of the races on Mallorca, then headed to the Ruta del Sol where he celebrated with ease in stage 4, after separating himself by multiple bike lengths from the runner-up.

The Tour de Suisse meant the German’s final preparation towards the Tour de France, where he will be Israel Start-Up Nation’s sprinter for the flat stages. He can rely on the full support of his teammates to chase a third stage victory this season.

One of those flat stages is, traditionally, the very final day in the Tour de France, and pretty much the most important day in a sprinter’s life: the final stretch on the Champs-Élysées. The feelings and emotions he remembers from those two experiences are a big motivation to go back to the Tour de France once again.

“Winning in Paris is something so special”, Greipel says. “Sprinting to a victory on the Champs-Élysées, the very last few hundred meters of the biggest cycling race in the world, is incomparable with any other sprint. That feeling is what drives me most.”

— admin to israelcyclingacademy.com