Trailblazer Niv to become first Israeli to participate in Tour de France


PARIS (Reuters) – Guy Niv says he’ll get goosebumps when he pedals from the start in Nice on Saturday to become the first Israeli driver to compete in the Tour de France.The 26-year-old is part of the ambitious Israeli Start-Up Nation team which will also make its debut in the world’s biggest cycling race, joining experienced teammates Dan Martin and Andre Greipel.

“I am honored and privileged to represent my country and my team in the greatest cycling race and one of the greatest sporting events in the world,” said Niv, a former mountain biker who only started road racing. ‘three years ago.

“And be the first Israeli to do it?” It might sound like a cliché, but it’s a dream come true. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It is enormous. I can not wait. ”

The Israel Start-Up Nation team was formed just five years ago, but they are thinking big and have signed four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome for next season.

For now, they are aiming for stage victories and raising the profile of cycling in Israel.

“We are aiming for more than racing glory on the Tour de France,” said team founder Ron Baron. “We want every child of Israel to say, ‘I can be Guy Niv someday.”

While everything will be new for Niv, famous climber Martin is on his eighth Tour, while highly experienced sprinter Greipel will look to add to his 11 stage victories on the Tour.

Martin suffered a crash at the Critérium de Dauphine and his place in the team was touch-and-go.

“I am really grateful to the team for being so patient and for giving me the time to really assess my condition after the Dauphine accident,” he said.

“I expect to suffer in the early stages as I missed a bit of training, but I’m extremely excited to use my racing experience to help the team.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond

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