Omer Goldstein’s Diary of the Tour de France:

On the explosive bursts, the astronomical power, the depressing moments, and the light at the end of the tunnel.



My goal was clear. To do everything to get into the breakaway with Mike Woods and Dan Martin. Easy to say, almost impossible to do. Just the day before I tried and very quickly realized that I wasn’t in the game, and I was seriously screwed. But it was a new day and a new opportunity. We took off for twenty kilometers of flat before the seven-kilometer climb. In every other race it follows the usual script: a few tries for the breakaway, someone goes, the peloton relaxes.


But this is the Tour. Here the explosive attacks develop and never end. Not soon and not after soon. Here there are sixty riders, all of them leaders or all-rounders, and all are at the top of the world with astronomical numbers. And they start out the strongest and then get stronger.


So, what’s left for me to do in a situation like that? Go full gas and hope that it’s enough. It’s an inconceivable pace and it doesn’t stop for a minute – and just as we reach the climb, endless riders drop out.


So, finally, we reach the ascent and start to climb, and I look around – we are only left with sixty riders. I’m still holding on. It’s still enough. Only later I realized I’d broken my wattage record for ten and twenty minutes. But then thirty riders to go forward and I can’t bridge to them.


But this time, I was way less frustrated. I said to myself, you are getting stronger every day. You’ve got the best numbers you’ve ever had and finally, you were close, really close, to doing it and getting into the escape with the “killers”, the one that just takes apart the peloton. I reminded myself that the day before I hadn’t survived the jump with the sixty, but today I did. Now I can wait and continue the Tour with the real hope that at the next opportunity I will be able to really get in the game.


“If you will it” – that’s the story of my first nine days of the Tour de France. You can call it, perhaps, a ‘masa gibush’ [a challenging rite of passage that brings together an army unit]. It’s a painful acquaintance with the toughest race in the world. When I got into the Tour, I had only heard the stories. Everyone said it would be tough, but even very experienced riders, way more experience than Omar Goldstein, 24, of Gilon, say what is happening here this year is the most extreme and unusual example of this. There is no dominant group here to control things, huge groups are dismantled here, and the lack of control creates a brutal dynamic.


I got my first wake-up call to how tough this would be on the first stage with its severe crashes, and then those that came day after day. And those were not even on climbing stages.


You ride inside the peloton, which is terribly crowded, at a frightening speed, and know that every mistake will get everyone down on the floor. The roads here in the early stages were shocking, full of cracks, and we know when we get to the narrow roads, there will be no chance of going up together as a group because you are not given any space. I remember we tried to get closer to André Greipel to help him, but we had to go individually – like fighting a battle by ourselves. I saw him and said, here I am. Then he was gone.


We are constantly told on the radio to “go up” but everyone shouts exactly the same thing – so then everyone is trying to go forward and it’s simply an impossible task.


The first few evenings I watched the reruns on TV, and I was horrified. It took me a while to digest that it’s an experience I’ve never had before – no race, not even in the giant races I’ve been through like the Vuelta and the Dauphine – have I ever seen this combination of tremendous quality riders, tremendous speed, poor roads and everyone’s motivation to prove themselves worthy.

Therefore, you find yourself adapting and going from stage to stage. It doesn’t really occur to me that I don’t belong. I just say to myself, “Omer, work harder, get more out of yourself. Wait for the next opportunity and try to do the big thing you dream of here.”


We have all been through nine really hard days here, but despite the difficulties the atmosphere of the team is good, and we are very united and optimistic that we will still achieve a victory here in one of the stages. Mike Woods was already close to that, and he’s delivering the goods, so there’s something to look forward to.”

— Tsadok to israelcyclingacademy.com



ISN’s press conference ahead of the Tour De France 2021:

Adams: This year we hope to make some noise!

Froome: Special to make my return to the Tour with ISN

Woods: Certainly feel ready for the role as team leader

Goldstein: I think we can do something big

“The Tour de France is the biggest thing in cycling.  Being here for the second time is a symbol of achievement for Israel Start-Up Nation and this year we hope to make some noise!”, team co-owner Sylvan Adams said at the team’s pre-Tour press conference on Wednesday.


The team is equally as excited. Mike Woods is making his debut as Tour team leader. “I certainly feel ready for the role. Unlike the other big names, I don’t have the expectations or pressure they have.


“I think I can be quite competitive at this race. I feel I have shown I am one of the strongest climbers in the peloton. I know that time trials are my weakness, but I feel like I have improved. And my goals are both to do well in the GC and to get stage wins. If I lose too much time in the time trials I will probably have more opportunities to attack in other stages.”


Woods also has his eye on the first two stages. “I haven’t ridden stage one yet , but Dan Martin did today and said it was challenging. I did stage two today and it is a proper Ardennes stage. We will see what Dan and I can do.”


Chris Froome is “really excited for this year’s start,” especially after missing the last two Tours due to recovering from a horrible crash in 2019. “Being back at last really motivates me, and it is special to be here with ISN.”


This year he will be in a supporting role, but he has no problem with that. “I am not going for GC but only to help the guys around me. Usually, the guys have done everything for me, now it is the other way around and I am glad to be able to pay it back a little.”


Israeli Omer Goldstein is honored to be riding his first Tour. “It’s really big. I am very excited and come here with a good form. I think we can do something big.”


His role is “to be a big help to the team get a stage win or GC, and to be in a break group. In a hilly or mountain stage ,I think I can do something in a break. Let’s see what the legs give me.”


Goldstein has trained extensively with Froome, who was very complimentary of his younger teammate. “Omer is a huge talent coming out of Israel. He is not here as ‘the token Israeli’, he deserves to be here because he is a good rider.”


Although he’ll be wearing the ISN blue and white, Woods will also be representing Canada, along with Guillaume Boivin,who is making his debut here. Woods sees the race as “an opportunity to represent Canada, and hopefully to motivate more Canadians to get on bikes, which is really important to me.”


The Canadian-Israeli Adams agrees. “We are the natural team for two countries – Israel of course, but also we are Canada’s team. I am really happy that we have two Canadians and one Israeli in our Tour de France line-up.”


At the Tour, the team will also be “Racing for Change”. As Adams put it, “We are more than just a cycling team. There is a Jewish concept called tikkun olam, an imperative to help improve the world. We are doing so by adopting a women’s team in Rwanda, the only women’s team there. We want to not only help them but to use it as a message to society to increase unity and peace in the world.”





— Tsadok to israelcyclingacademy.com