Israel Cycling Academy announces exciting news, following conference in Jerusalem.
Team owners: We have set the goal of participating next year in a Grand Tour.
ICA was the driving force in bringing the Giro d’Italia to Israel
Academy confident it will be invited to compete in Giro d’Italia as a strong and competitive team.
Turkish champion joins the Israeli team next season
A new Israeli cyclist signed to Pro Contract with the Academy
Academy expands investment in Israeli Cycling: The All-Israeli development team will compete in a complete racing schedule
The first Academy for young cyclists in Israel will soon be established
Jerusalem. September 18.
Israel’s first pro Cycling team announced today at a press conference in Jerusalem, that the group has set a goal to participate next season in the team’s first-ever Grand Tour and believe that they will be invited by the Giro d’Italia to participate in the second largest tour in the world.
"Academy has been working for more than two years to bring the Giro to Israel and we are very happy to see our dream come true, right before our eyes," stated Ron Bar-On, owner and founder of ICA. "We certainly expect and hope that we will be invited to make history by participating in the monumental Giro, which will begin in Jerusalem on May 4. We do not expect to participate as a gesture of recognition, but rather, on the basis of our professional level. Over the past three years, the team's riders, including the Israelis, have competed around the world and gained a significant level of experience. In recent months, we have invested a great deal in strengthening the team with top-ranked international cyclists, in order to be able to provide a strong and competitive team that will be able to put up a real fight, and we are convinced that we will prove this to the entire world."
The team has revealed that it is expanding its rider roster from 16 to at least 24 riders for the 2018 season, allowing it to compete in dozens of races at the highest level of pro cycling, and to choose from the eight most powerful riders to compete in the most demanding race in the world. These riders include Belgian Ben Hermans and Spaniard Ruben Plaza, who have each taken stages in the Tour de France and Volta respectively. "We plan to set up a Grand Tour roster, selecting our best riders, including Israeli cyclists", said Ran Margaliot, Israel Cycling Academy manager. "The competition between the athletes will be very high, but to conclude, we will have a team that will be able to deal with the gruelling challenges that come with attaining victories in a Grand Tour."
Cycling Academy presented the latest in a series of riders added to strengthen the team for the ‘Grand Tour’ season. This includes the man that Bar-On called, ‘our most exciting reinforcement’; the newly signed 24-year-old, Ahmet Orken. He is the Turkish National Time Trial Champion, and one of the greatest cycling talents to emerge from Turkey in recent years. "We recruited him first, because he is a wonderful rider with tremendous potential," Margaliot said. "It’s an expression that really excites us, because it shows the world how sports in general, and cycling in particular, can break down barriers. Ahmet will ride on the team alongside our Israeli heroes, Guy Sagiv and Roy Goldstein, who like him, dream of making history and participating in the Giro…we hope they can do it together."
Recently signed Turkish rider Ahmet Orken commented, "I received great support from all of my friends and supporters in Turkey for my move to the Israeli group. Everyone was in favor. I have had a great opportunity to progress as a rider and this is my main motivation, but I am also a great believer in helping peace and brotherhood through sport." This support has come, despite the recent tense relations between Israel and Turkey.
Turkish Ambassador to Israel Kamel Oakem , met with the group's owner Ron Bar-On, following the signing of the Turkish rider to the Israeli team and said that he "expressed great excitement for the move, and for bringing the two peoples closer together." Academies team will compete next season with riders from at least 17 different countries, a number unparalleled in the professional sports world. “For us, it is a great privilege to contribute far beyond the limits of sport" Bar-On said.
The group's leaders announced that they intended to strengthen the team’s roster with additional Israeli riders and showed its sincerity by its immediate announcement of having signed Guy Niv (24) to a full professional contract for the next two seasons. He (Niv) will be the fourth Israeli on the roster and the team has made it clear that they may sign another Israeli rider. "An Israeli rider at a Grand Tour was our dream from day one, because we knew it could effect a whole young generation," said the ICA founder. "We believe that this history will happen very soon, and that an Israeli rider will leap into the Giro d’Italia in Jerusalem in an Israel Cycling Academy uniform."
As part of its efforts to promote more Israeli cyclists, Academy announced that in the coming season, its all-Israeli reserve group will compete in a full series of races around the world. The team also announced their intention to establish the first academy for children and youth in the coming months. "When we started working on bringing the Giro to Israel, the thought was that it would become a kind of catalyst for the process we started," Bar-On said.
The man who set the plan in motion, was Silvan Adams; the Canadian-Jewish philanthropist who has become an ‘Academic’ and Bar-On's partner in the group. Adams' willingness to generously donate his money to finance the expenses of the Giro in Israel, and the state's agreement to share the burden, has made it possible to turn the dream into a reality. "The Giro in Israel will bring the country's stunning and varied landscapes into the homes of more than 100 million sports fans around the world," said Adams.