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ICA ready for big Portuguese challenge: ten days of high-level racing

The Israel Cycling Academy Continental team is about to take the start in the Volta a Portugal, a ten-day stage race from Lisbon to Viseu.

The Volta a Portugal is one of the biggest races the Continental team can compete in and has an extraordinary number of race days: ten. For most of ICA’s riders in Portugal, it will be the first time racing so many consecutive days.

“Yes,” Oded Kogut, one of the selected Israeli riders says, “ten days in a row is definitely going to be a challenge. For me, it’s a big step, as I have never raced so many consecutive days before.”

But the 20-year-old is excited to race the Volta a Portugal. “It is my biggest race so far. I am especially looking forward to the short prologue and the last individual time trial.”

Ben Moshe as road captain

One of the other Israelis on the team, Yuval Ben Moshe, shares Kogut’s sentiment about the biggest race in his career. He is selected as the road captain in the team, after having gained experience from his WorldTour-team-companions earlier this year in Hungary.

“I will try to help everyone as much as I can, and in the meantime better learn myself how to read a race. I hope I can grow in my responsible role throughout the race and do a good job,” Ben Moshe says.

Upped training volume

ICA’s sports director Zak Dempster thinks that spending energy wisely will be a key to success. “The Volta a Portugal is a famous race, mostly because of its difficulty. For the whole team, it will be a great opportunity to take a big step forward in their development.”

In order to be optimally prepared, Israel Cycling Academy gradually intensified their training over the last two seasons, and especially in the last months with a training camp and several races.

Sports director Cherie Pridham says that having a few races will do them well in Portugal: “The guys are ready for a tough, ten-day stage race like this. The intense training should leave them prepared.”

Mackellar: “We can be one of the stronger teams”

Mason Hollyman, who wore the young classification jersey in the GP Torres Vedras last month, Alastair Mackellar, stage winner in that same Portuguese race, and Riley Pickrell are ICA’s non-Israeli forces for the Volta a Portugal.

Mackellar, having had an up in Torres Vedras with a victory and a down with a crash on the last day, says he is particularly eager to race stages 4 and 6. “These two stages look punchy: hard rolling days that would most likely bring a reduced bunch to the line. I expect bigger, WorldTour and Pro Conti teams to control, just like in Torres Vedras, however, I think we could have a chance those days.”

Hollyman agrees with him: “I think the whole team prepared very well for this one. We had a team camp and put some good work in together. Torres Vedras and the Vuelta Castilla y Leon were perfect preparation races for going into this race. A successful race for us would be podiuming in a stage and also being up there in the GC.”

Zak Dempster and Cherie Pridham agree: “Top-10 in the GC, a podium, and having everyone through to the finish will be a great boost for Israel Cycling Academy, the team, and for everyone’s development and their futures.”

  • Yuval Ben Moshe
  • Edo Goldstein
  • Riley Pickrell
  • Oded Kogut
  • Mason Hollyman
  • Saned Abu Fares
  • Alastair Mackellar

Sports directors: Cherie Pridham and Zak Dempster

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Alex Aranburu secures another top ten result in his first Tour de France participation – Astana

Alex Aranburu secures another top ten result in his first Tour de France participation

Alex Aranburu sprinted to another sixth place in his first Tour de France journey as part of the chase group behind the day’s solo winner.

After the final rest day, the race continued its journey and left Andorra to return to France with 169 demanding kilometres in Saint-Gaudens for the first of three days in the Pyrenées.

The start included a downhill section which was neutralized to give the riders the chance to change their clothes due to the cold temperatures. As the race re-started, attacks were flying from all directions with a fierce battle to make the breakaway playing out. The young Basque rider Alex Aranburu was attentive and chased the leaders at the front, alongside teammate Omar Fraile, who was quite active at the beginning of the first climbs.

At the foot of the second to last climb of the race, the Col de Portet d´Aspet, Aranburu was part of a chase group around 20 seconds down on the leading trio. At this moment, eventual stage winner Patrick Konrad went clear and opened up a gap over his opponents while behind, Aranburu dug deep in the third chasing group.

After a long and rainy day in the saddle, the Itzulia Basque Country stage winner crossed the line in sixth place, his second top ten result in his Tour de France debut. Teammate Alexey Lutsenko came home together with the yellow jersey, which sees no change on the overall ranking with Lutsenko remaining in seventh place overall.

“It was very fast from the beginning of the stage so it was very difficult for me to get into the breakaway. We all tried a lot and, in the end, I managed to get into the right move. By the end, I didn’t have much strength left but we had the stage victory to fight for. Konrad from Bora – hansgrohe got away so we were chasing behind and then in the sprint, I did what I could. In theory, it suited me. I feel like I have come a long way at the race. It has been a very, very hard Tour de France but day by day I am getting there and learning things and fighting every day”, said Aranburu.

 

Race Profile 

Tour de France 

Stage 16: El Pas de la Casa Saint-Gaudens (169km)

Top 3: Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe); 2. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious), 3. Michael Matthews (Bike-Exchange)

Astana – Premier Tech Top 3: 6. Alex Aranburu, 15. Alexey Lutsenko 60. Hugo Houle

 

©Gettysport

— nadine Pfeffer to www.astanapremiertech.com