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Israel Start-Up Nation brings two Israeli riders to Vuelta a España

Guy Niv and Itamar Einhorn have made it to the Vuelta-selection for the Israel Start-Up Nation team. It is the second time the Israeli team has brought two Israeli riders to a Grand Tour.

 

For Niv, La Vuelta means his second Grand Tour this season, after having finished the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. For Itamar Einhorn, the Vuelta a España means his first Grand Tour participation.

Israelis take on Vuelta full-heartedly

Co-owner Sylvan Adams says the selection of two Israeli riders for a 21-day-stage-race validates our efforts in developing Israeli cyclists. “Each will have a different role on ISN’s eight-man squad”, Adams says. “Guy, ISN’s most experienced Grand Tour-rider, is largely a breakaway stage hunter, while Itamar will be the team’s principal sprinter. I for one am excited to see what they can do over the three-week race. Y’alla, all of Israel is behind you!”

The 23-year-old Einhorn says he is ‘obviously’ very excited to race his first Grand Tour. The sprinter: “Riding a Grand Tour is a challenge and I think I can do it. I feel good, I feel ready, and I feel really motivated. It looks like this year it has pretty good options for the sprint.”

Niv says he will take on the ‘double Grand Tour challenge’ with a full heart. “I look at it as an honor and an opportunity. I will do everything to turn this into a great three weeks, to look for opportunities to fight for a win from a breakaway, and also to help my friend and teammate Itamar Einhorn in his first Grand Tour.”

‘Big opportunities for Israeli riders’

 Oscar Guerrero and Zak Dempster, two of the three sports directors for ISN in the Vuelta, say that the Vuelta comes at the right time in Einhorn’s career. “There are plenty of sprints for him to learn his craft and fight for results and, of course, it’s an important step in his career which should help him to progress.”

About Niv the two sports directors say: “Guy, after having made big steps in the last two seasons, now has the chance to take an even bigger step forward with complete freedom to enter breaks and fight for real results. It’s a big opportunity for him at this stage of his career.”

Chris Froome not in line-up

Chris Froome will not compete in La Vuelta. Froome, winner of the Spanish stage race in 2011 and 2017, has not fully recovered from the Tour de France. According to ISN’s team manager Kjell Carlström, it does not make sense to start with Froome.

“Froome is not completely ready for another Grand Tour. With an alternative race plan, Chris will have a few more weeks to get ready for the rest of the season. He will race some shorter stage races.”

Sep Vanmarcke and Davide Cimolai as experienced riders to Vuelta

In addition to Israelis Niv and Einhorn, Sep Vanmarcke and Davide Cimolai make their way to Burgos. Also, Danish national champion Mads Würtz Schmidt, Canadians Alex Cataford and James Piccoli, and Australian U-23 rider Sebastian Berwick start La Vuelta.

Guerrero: “For us, the most important thing is that we are specific on the days that suit our guys. We’re not going in with a GC guy so that opens up so many opportunities for every rider on the team to have their day to really target a stage (or two or three).”

Our sprinters are also up to the challenge. Davide Cimolai and Itamar Einhorn will be dividing up the sprint duties, depending on how they feel each day. Cimolai showed us his good form in the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, with three second-places in bunch sprints, while Einhorn has a win since coming back from a knee injury.

 

 

Vuelta a España (14/08 – 05/09):

  • Itamar Einhorn – Israel
  • Mads Würtz Schmidt – Denmark
  • Sep Vanmarcke – Belgium
  • Guy Niv – Israel
  • Davide Cimolai – Italy
  • Sebastian Berwick – Australia
  • Alexander Cataford – Canada
  • James Piccoli – Canada

Sports directors: Oscar Guerrero, Claudio Cozzi & Zak Dempster

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Israel Start-Up Nation and talented Kiwi Corbin Strong join forces

  • Strong: ‘Humbled to start my professional career with ISN’
  • Carlström: ‘He impressed us on the road and the track’

Israel Start-Up Nation signed Corbin Strong. The 21-year-old Kiwi, coming from SEG Racing Academy, will be on the Israeli team for three years.

“It is a dream come true joining Israel Start-Up Nation for the 2022 season. It will be a truly humbling experience to start my professional road career alongside some of the biggest names in the sport,” Strong said from Tokyo.

ISN’s general manager, Kjell Carlström, is also excited about bringing Strong to the team. “Over the last few years, he has impressed us with his skills on the track as well as on the road,” he says.

“We are committed to giving Corbin a great home for further development and welcome him into the ISN family.”

Olympic Games

The Kiwi is currently representing New Zealand at the Olympic Games, where he is competing on the track.

Competing in the Olympic Games is another highlight in Strong’s quickly developing cycling career. He started riding on the track when he was ten and, since then, has risen through the higher ranks of cycling step-by-step.

The 21-year-old: “After having tried multiple sports while growing up, I followed my dad and brother to the velodrome. When my brother broke his arm, I could borrow his bike. This started my love for the sport and, since then, I always dreamed of being a professional cyclist.”

The Kiwi continues: “Success in the sport came quite early for me with national titles on the road and track coming through the junior ranks. However, becoming a pro cyclist while coming from a small town in New Zealand seemed like a very ambitious goal. I think that is why it intrigued me so much.”

Continuing to develop

Strong had to recover from a broken back after a crash in his final season as a junior but gained momentum the year after when the national track cycling team and the Australian continental team St. George gave him opportunities to develop. Ultimately, he joined the SEG Racing Academy and got selected for the Olympic Games.

After the Olympics, Strong will finish the road season with his current team before joining ISN in 2022. “I look forward to learning from the best riders and continuing my development with ISN.”

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Israel Start-Up Nation to continue racing on Factor Bikes in 2022

Ben Hermans lifting up his OSTRO VAM in celebration after soloing to victory in Giro dell’Appennino this year

Following two successful years of collaboration, Factor Bikes and Israel Start-Up Nation (“ISN”) are pleased to announce their continued partnership in 2022. The team will also continue to use Black Inc wheels and components alongside CeramicSpeed products to equip the team with a winning combination. 

Since the inception of the partnership, Factor has worked closely with ISN’s staff and riders on new product testing and development: recent new products such as the Factor OSTRO VAM and Black Inc TWENTY and FORTY FIVE wheels represent some of the innovations that have been born out of this collaboration.

Drawing on ISN’s experience and knowledge through rider feedback empowers Factor to drive innovation to new heights. Seeing the team competing and winning in some of the biggest races in the world on Factor bikes and Black Inc wheels and components is a testament to the work that goes into developing these racing products.

Rob Gitelis, CEO of Factor Bikes said: “We are pleased to be able to continue our work with ISN and build upon the success we have enjoyed to date. In the last two years, the team’s feedback has been a really important and valued part of our development process. Alongside Black Inc and CeramicSpeed, we have a strong partnership in place and we look forward to building on this with new product launches and future racing success.”

Sylvan Adams, co-owner of Israel Start-Up Nation said: “It gives me a lot of satisfaction to announce that ISN has renewed our partnership with Factor Bikes for next year. Factor produces one of, if not the best road bike in the business, and our riders love the OSTRO VAM in particular. Many of them have told me that it is the best bike they’ve ridden, and that it actually makes them faster. As well, Factor has been extremely responsive to our needs and rider feedback. Factor’s gifted super engineer Graham Shrive has produced a new TT bike which we first tried at the Giro. With Factor, ISN is JUST. GETTING. STARTED.”

ISN will race on the OSTRO VAM, O2 VAM and ONE V2 depending on racing requirements, and Black Inc’s full range of wheels including the TWENTY, THIRTY, FORTY FIVE and SIXTY.

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Ben the Aggressor! | Israel Start-Up Nation

Ben Hermans Great Victory in Italy

 

A winner cannot play it safe. He’s got to take the bull by the horns when the moment presents itself, and then not look back.

That was BEN HERMANS all the way today in one of his most impressive victories, wearing ISN’s colors at the Italian one-day race of Giro dell’Appennino. 

His move came 3 kilometers to the top of the last climb of the day, the Madonna della Guardia. Until then, the team supported him greatly – taking part in controlling the peloton in the front alongside INEOS and setting a high pace in the last climb. 

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 move by Ben was decisive. Just two riders were able to stay close and Ben held only a 20-second gap on the top.

But 24 km were still awaiting …

After a very fast descent, Ben went into TT mode and he was so powerful and determined, nobody was able to close the small gap and he won with 30 seconds to spare.

“He told us on the radio that he felt great,” recalled DS Cherie Pridham (who brought home this win in her first race as leading sports director). 

And great he was. 

“I’m obviously really happy that today all went according to what we had planned. I have to thank all my teammates for their work. Especially the young guys, Sebastian and Alexis who did the longest pulls today to put me into a good situation in the final of the race.

“In the last climb I got paced well by Tom and Alex, [who] made the race hard so when the attacks followed by other teams, we were very soon only with three guys left.

“1.5 km before the top of the last climb, Moscon and Ayuso dropped also and I had to go 25 km solo, which wasn’t easy because of technical downhill and 15 km of full headwind on the flat roads to the coast.

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

“[I] expanded the gap from 20 seconds to 45 seconds and had all the time to put Factor in the picture at the finish line. For sure the Factor Ostro helped me on the flat roads to expand the gap and stay in front to take the win. Finally, I won a race on this amazing bike, after the TTT win in Coppi e Bartali.”

The ISN team today:
Ben Hermans
Sebastian Berwick
Alexis Renard 
Tom Van Asbroeck
Alex Cataford 
Hugo Hofstetter

— Tsadok to israelcyclingacademy.com

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

Race schedule update | Israel Start-Up Nation

Due to three positive Covid-19 cases amongst its staff members, Israel Start-Up Nation won’t be lining up for a small number of races in June.

The three staff members of the team returned a positive Covid-19 test result after regular internal testing by the team doctors. In order to contain the situation and to not risk the health of other staff members, riders and rival teams, Israel Start-Up Nation, has decided to skip the following races in June:

Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau (June 4)
Dwars door het Hageland (June 5)
Elfstedenronde (June 6)
Baloise Belgium Tour (June 9-13)
Adriatica Ionica Race (June 14-18)

The team will keep its race bubble intact for the Tour de Suisse (June 6-13) as none of the selected staff members nor riders has been in contact with any of the affected personnel. For the same reason, the team will also continue racing in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

General Manager, Kjell Carlström: “Obviously, we would have liked to line up in these great races, for which the riders have trained hard to do well. However, the health of our staff and riders, as well as safeguarding all other teams, will always come first. We don’t want to take any risk that may jeopardize anyone. In a situation like this, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

GREIPEL (HUMBLY!) WINS AGAIN | Israel Start-Up Nation

This is the unique thing about Andre Greipel: in the age of the selfie, where everything is “ME and I”, here comes an athlete, who despite his unbelievable winning resume and prowess, will do everything he can to resist the “me” and stick to the gentlemanly way of being.

20Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2021 – 67th Edition – 4th stage – Baza – Cullar Vega 182.9 km – 21/05/2021 – Andre Greipel (GER – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2021

 

Case in point: his second victory today in Ruta del Sol – his second in five days and the one that made everybody around him marvel at the magnificent resurrection of the 38-year-old legend – and there was just no chance to get him to talk about himself before hearing his extended praise of every one of his teammates.

 

It went like this, word for word:

 

Greipel: “Alex Cataford did an incredible job after his crash and made sure we chased down the breakaway. Then came a massive work by Hugo Hofstetter, who kept us in front, and Jenthe Biermans positioning us. I had a little problem in the last corner, but Daryl Impey kept the position and launched. I could not stick to Rick Zabel’s wheel because I was boxed in, so it could have gone even better… We have such great professionals in this team … The best.”

Finally came the words about himself: “I had a very good sprint.”

 

Actually, it was a SUPER sprint. He jumped perfectly, like out of a gun, with 300 hundred meters to go, and was so fast that his rivals could not react in time, nor with enough power to catch him. “Oldie but Goldie,” commented one of our fans.

One of the most beautiful scenes was seeing his teammates’ pure delight with his victory, and no more than from his old friend and comrade, Rick Zabel.

 

They met eight years ago when Rick was still a very young talent, but when Zabel moved to Cologne four years ago, the friendship flourished. They became a training duo. “He showed me around and helped me a lot with wise advice. He was really becoming a mentor to me,” recalled Rick.

At ISN, it was the first time that they could race together. “I think I am a good leadout, last man,” said Zabel. “And it’s great to have a sprinter on your wheel – that can win.”

But it took more than one season to see the real fruits of the mutual labor. Rick could notice it coming in the Tour of Turkey. “We improved all season long, and we were very close to winning with him there. But now, it all seems to come together. He is just fast, in great shape, and has a good team behind him.”

We came back to Greipel, asking him to explain it. We received a short and pointed explanation.

Greipel: “I got one answer: my passion for the sport and a dedicated team.”

— Tsadok to israelcyclingacademy.com