Team Israel Start-Up Nation’s Guy Niv: “It might sound cliché, but my dream of a lifetime has now been realized”.
Co-owner Sylvan Adams: “It’s a proud moment for the country, for Israeli sports and for me.”
Team manager Kjell Carlström: “It will be the toughest challenge of his life, but we trust him to take it on completely.”
The team also announced the Israeli riders who will compete in the other two Grand Tours: Guy Sagiv (Giro d’Italia) and Omer Goldstein (Vuelta a Espana).
19 August (Tel Aviv) – Guy Niv, 26, will make history and become the first-ever Israeli rider to compete in the biggest professional cycling race of all, the Tour de France. His selection by Team Israel Start-Up Nation represents a remarkable accomplishment for a cyclist who, until three years ago, was primarily a mountain biker and had little experience in road racing.
Team Israel Start-Up Nation, which is also making history as the first Israel based and owned team to race in the Tour de France, has picked the climber Niv over his fellow Israeli compatriots in a hotly contested competition for the slot. The team also announced slots for Israeli riders in the two other Grand Tour races later this year. Guy Sagiv, the first Israeli to ever finish a Grand Tour, will race in the Giro d’Italia, while Omer Goldstein will race in the Vuelta a Espana.
Guy Niv’s first reaction on hearing the final decision: “I am honored and privileged to represent my country and team in the biggest race in cycling and one of the greatest sporting events in the world. And to be the first Israeli to do so? It might sound like a cliché, but it’s a dream come true. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Its huge. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – and now we are about to make history. I cannot wait!”
The team’s co-owner Sylvan Adams: “It’s a proud moment for Israel, for Israeli sports and for me. Since last November, when we knew that our Israeli team would be riding in cycling’s biggest race for the first time in 2020, I publicly stated that we would have an Israeli rider on our Tour squad, making history as the first from our country to race in the Tour de France. I am proud of Guy, who has worked hard to be in the best shape of his life, for earning this position.”
Adams continued by saying that “the selection of these young Israeli riders to all the three Grand Tours clearly demonstrates ISN’s confidence in them to compete in the biggest races in the world. Good luck to all three.”
Team manager Kjell Carlström said that the decision to pick Niv was influenced partly by the route of this year’s Tour de France, which features more than 50,000 meters of climbing, and largely by Niv’s constant progress.
“As a climber he is best suited to face this huge challenge,” explained Carlström. “But he also showed us that he keeps progressing in other aspects, both mentally and physically. He is already a better rider and more robust then he was when he finished the Giro d’Italia last year, so he gets the precious spot in the lineup that he deserves. We feel that although he will be facing the toughest weeks of his life, he can make it – we trust him”.
Niv’s participation in the Tour is also a realization of the vision and hope that led to the founding of the team five years ago by two Israelis, ex-pro-rider Ran Margaliot and businessman Ron Baron. “When we founded the team, this was our biggest dream,” said Baron. “We believe that this achievement will inspire the next generation of young Israelis to take on cycling.”
Guy Niv shares that founding vision, adding “I hope that my start in the Tour de France will inspire kids in Israel to choose cycling as their sport. After we hosted the Giro d’Italia we started to see growth in Israeli cycling, and now comes the next big step.”
Niv recalled that as a young boy, celebrating his Bar Mitzvah, he asked his parents to take him to the Tour de France as a birthday present. “I get goosebumps from just the thought that I get to race in it, and it’s even more meaningful because I get to do it for the country I love and it’s a chance to show the beautiful side of Israel.