Israeli Tour de France team to use competition to fly national flag


For Tour de France newcomers Israel Start-Up Nation, this year’s race is an opportunity to send a message before Chris Froome arrives next season as part of a plan to transform them. as pretenders.

Owner Sylvan Adams wants his team to fly the Israeli flag. Their livery is in the national colors of blue and white with “Israel” and a Star of David on the chest.

Israel Cycling Academy team members train near Kibbutz Beit Guvrin

(Photo: AFP)

When the race begins in Nice on Sunday, their patchwork team will include the first Israeli to enter the Tour, Guy Niv.

“I am honored and privileged to represent my country and my team in the greatest cycling race,” Niv, 26, said in a team press release. “And be the first Israeli to do it?” It might sound cliché, but my lifelong dream has now come true. “

In a VeloNews podcast, Adams told former Tour cyclist Bobby Julich he had two goals for his team.

“The first goal is to develop cycling in Israel,” he said. “The second objective is to present the Israel that I know and love to the world. “

Israeli rider Guy Niv Israeli rider Guy Niv

Israeli cyclist Guy Niv

(Photo: Noa Toledo Arnon)

Last season, Israel Start-Up Nation participated in the second tier continental tour, known as “Pro-Conti”.

They only got a spot on the World Tour when they purchased the license from the failing Katusha team for $ 1 the day before the October 1, 2019 deadline.

Even though they inherited a handful of runners from Katusha and signed 38-year-old German sprinter Andre Greipel and 34-year-old Anglo-Irish veteran Dan Martin, Adams is pragmatic.

“We have a Pro-Conti budget and a Pro-Conti list,” Adams told VeloNews.

Sylvan Adams Sylvan Adams

Sylvan Adams

(Photo: AFP)

“We don’t really have a candidate for the overall standings,” Adams said. “We have horses and could possibly fly a stage. “

That will change when quadruple winner Froome, who turns 36 next May, joins.

“The opportunity to recruit Chris arose when he decided that the Ineos structure of multiple leaders might not be the way he wanted to run,” said Adams.

“He wanted to participate in the decision making but Ineos is a top down situation. “

“Instead of being a corporate structure, we are truly a family. “

Adams is recruiting a strong group of support drivers for next season, including South African Daryl Impey and Michael Woods, who will be the team’s fourth Canadian.

“If we want to invest in Chris, we have to build around him,” Adams said.

“We will be a real threat to win the Tour,” he said.

For Adams, winning races is the third goal.

Chris Fromm GiroChris Fromm Giro

Chris Froome after winning the Giro d’Italia in 2018

(Photo: AFP)

“The winners get all the attention. They’ll notice us a lot more if Chris Froome wins the Tour de France. “

Adams, 62, ran his family’s real estate company in his native Canada, emigrated to Israel in 2015 and proclaimed himself a “Goodwill Ambassador for Israel,” adding that because he had taken the title for himself, “I can »t be reassigned or fired. ”

Adams began competitive cycling as an adult and won two world masters titles and Canadian and Israeli masters titles.

Cyclists of the Israel Cycling AcademyCyclists of the Israel Cycling Academy

Israel Cycling Academy cyclists training ahead of the 2018 Giro d’Italia

(Photo: AP)

He took over the former team from the Israel Cycling Academy, the base of Start-Up Nation, in 2015 and paid to bring the start of the Giro d’Italia 2018 to Israel. The fees “were frankly too high,” he said. But he made sure his team was invited.

“It was my birthday,” he says.

“During those three days we had over a million fans on the streets, watching this race and cheering on my team. The major sports are soccer and basketball and we are terrible at soccer. “

It has also attracted a global TV audience, which is part of its soft power strategy.

“I try to address a very large audience,” he told AFP. “I’m not trying to convince one person at a time because it takes too long and I’m too old. “

Sylvan AdamsSylvan Adams

Adams with the Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team

(Photo: Oz Moalem)

The Tour’s starting list also includes the most established national representatives: Bahrain-McLaren, UAE Team Emirates and Astana, the former name of the capital of Kazakhstan.

Adams rejects the suggestion that he “plays sports.”

“You will not accuse any other country of ‘washing’ every time it engages with the world,” he said, adding that he intends to continue, “unless peace is breaking out all over the world and we are not totally accepted and loved. . ”


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