Israel Cycling Academy signs its first Colombian: Edwin Avila
Ex Track World Champion took on road cycling only 4 years ago
Tel Aviv. August 11th. Israel Cycling Academy has just signed Colombian Edwin Avila. The former two time track points race World Champion took on road cycling just 4 years ago and is fast emerging as a unique talent.
“We strongly believe that the best is yet to come from our first Colombian rider”, said Team manager Ran Margaliot. “We were waiting for the opportunity to add a Colombian rider to Academy as we always admired the great cycling passion they possess, along with enormous courage. In Avila, we found these characteristics with so much more; a rare combination between a climber and a sprinter, who will give us an enormous boost and a chance to win in wide race scenarios. He is not a pure climber but he can climb very well and win in a selective sprint and a breakaway. He can also perform in a TT very well and serve as a lead out when needed. Bottom line - he is extremely versatile and aggressive and that perfectly suits the racing style of our team”.
ICA had the opportunity to witness the Colombian’s talents from close range when racing for his present American squad, Team Illuminate in the Tour of Azerbaijan earlier this year. In the 4th stage, it was Avila who led a fierce attack on the final climb and took the stage victory. “We liked what we saw that day and have followed him closely since”, explained Academy’s Sports director Kjell Calstrom. “When we raced later in the Tour De Korea, (Avila finished 2nd overall) he was not a bit less impressive so it was an easy decision really. If you can’t beat them, join them”, smiled the Fin ? “ In a way, yeah”…
Avila is seen by the Israeli team as a great candidate to be part of a Grand Tour squad next season. To create a team suitable and prepared for this next step up, was a key goal for team’s owners, Ron Baron and Sylvan Adams. “We upgraded and increased the roster size from 16 riders to 24, adding both veteran and young talent to our solid core group”, said Adams. Indeed, the first Israeli pro cycling team has already named some of those new riders, including World Tour veterans, Ben Hermans and Ruben Plaza, as well as Norwegian talents Sondre Holst Enger and August Jensen.
“I have waited for this opportunity to be part of a very ambitious team, thriving to grow and get to the world’s biggest races”, said the Cali born Colombian. “I feel that I am still learning the trade, as I am relatively new to road cycling. I realise it might be a bit difficult, but I am ready to face it and help the team win races”.
Avila took an unusual path to road cycling. He admits that, “as a child I did not like any kind of sport”. However, his attitude toward sport didn’t take long to change, and he attributes this to his father, Alcibiades, an ex-cyclist himself who encouraged Avila to start cycling.
“He went and bought me my first bike and I won the first race I ever entered. When I won every race that followed - I realised that I am really good at it”.
Avila later went on to target track cycling and accumulated numerous titles in the Team pursuit, before winning the World Championship in the points race, in 2011 and then again in 2014. After representing Colombia in the Olympics, he decided to take on road cycling and did so impressively, winning the Colombian National title last year. This was not a small achievement, in this cycling powerhouse Nation. “I feel that I am improving in every facet as I am gaining experience, and now I am ready for the biggest step with Israel Cycling academy”.
Israel Cycling Academy was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem, as Israel’s first Professional cycling team, with a clear vision to help Israeli Cycling and bring young cyclists, especially Israelis, to the top levels of cycling. This year (2017) was it’s first as a Pro Continental.