The Jewish state’s cycling team is “showing the true heart of Israel to hundreds of millions of fans around the world and I could not be more proud,” said team co-founder Sylvan Adams.
The Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team made history Saturday when it recorded its first-ever stage victory in a Grand Tour race, just five years after the team’s establishment.
Alex Dowsett finished first on Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia. The Giro is one of professional cycling’s three prestigious Grand Tour races, alongside the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.
Dowsett was part of a breakaway group of six riders, alongside ISN team-mate Matthias Brändle, during the 200km stage from Giovinazzo to Vieste. Both ISN riders fell back during one of the climbs, but returned to rejoin the front of the race. Brändle initially attacked for the lead, before Dowsett took over, opening up a significant gap which he maintained until the finish line in Vieste. It sealed a historic victory for Israel Start-Up Nation.
“Matthias and I never stopped believing,” said Dowsett, who is the British ITT champion. “Having two in the break of six was essential… It could easily have been Matthias [who won the stage],” said Dowsett after the finish.
At the finish line, Dowsett’s emotions took over. He cried tears of joy, as thoughts turned to his pregnant wife expecting their first child. Brändle came across the finish line in fifth position and was the first to congratulate Dowsett.
ISN co-owner Sylvan Adams, who watched the race on television, highlighted the excitement of the commentators as Dowsett rode to victory, even using ISN’s team slogan, “Yalla.”
“All the excitement demonstrates that our project has significance beyond sport, it’s showing the true heart of Israel to hundreds of millions of fans around the world. I could not be more proud,” he shared.
ISN co-owner Ron Baron commented that when they founded the Israeli team only five years ago they “dreamed that we would reach this moment today. We are a team of dreamers who turn our dreams into reality one by one. This historic moment will actualize our biggest goal: to inspire the next generation of young Israelis to take on this beautiful sport.”
Israel Start-Up Nation made its first appearance in the Giro d’Italia in 2018 with Israelis Guy Niv and Guy Sagiv participating in the race’s historic ‘Big Start’ in Jerusalem. This year’s Giro is the second Grand Tour in a short period of time for Israel Start-Up Nation, after completing the Tour de France last month.
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