Israel Start-Up Nation and Chris Froome kick off season 2021 in Argentina

  • Chris Froome will lead the Israeli team’s squad for the first time.

  • ISN Sportive Manager: “The race will be a chance for Froome to build his racing shape.”

  • Last year’s opening stage winner Rudy Barbier and Israeli Guy Niv named to the squad.

Tel Aviv: Dec 16

Team Israel Start-Up Nation will kick off its 2021 season in Argentina on Jan 24th, racing in the Vuelta a San Juan over eight stages with a lineup headed by Chris Froome.

It will be the first time that Froome will race in the Israeli team’s blue and white, raising the curtain on the widely anticipated new journey for the four-time Tour de France winner. The announcement that Froome would join ISN, a team that has risen to the WorldTour level in just five years, has raised expectations and there is much anticipation that he will lead the team to new heights with the help of additional world-renowned riders.

Chris Froome who has been training in California in recent weeks has stated: “This race will mark the beginning of a much-anticipated new chapter of my career. I look forward to racing with my new teammates and getting the ball rolling on the adventure that lies ahead”.

The team’s new sportive manager, Rik Verbrugghe, has made it clear that the opening race will be used merely as an opportunity for Froome to build up to racing shape. “He is not going to Argentina to win the race,” said the Belgian. “We see it as a perfect opportunity for Chris to start the building process towards the peak of the season down the road.”

Verbrugghe expressed confidence that the team will be hunting “for stage wins in San Juan with the solid lineup we are sending.” And indeed, racing alongside Froome will be the French sprinter Rudy Barbier, who won the opening stage in San Juan’s 2020 edition. Israeli Guy Niv, who made history as the first rider from his country to finish a Tour de France just three months ago, will be the other climber in the squad, facing the famous mountaintop finish on the Alto Colorado. Belgian Tom Van Asbroeck, Canadian Alex Cataford, and newcomer Patrick Bevin from New Zealand will round out the delegation to Argentina.

Guy Niv : “The news that I will be starting the season alongside Chris Froome has given me an unbelievable extra motivation boost . I can’t wait to get to know him and learn how can I help him as our leader”.

ISN’s general manager Kjell Carlström adds that starting in San Juan is a strategic move, saying that “In what is going to be an important season for the team and for Chris, the nice atmosphere and weather in the Vuelta a San Juan makes it a great place to start out the season. Chris will get a feel for his new teammates in a short camp before the start and will be able to build on the relationships throughout the race. Racing together as a team is always important and this race setting provides a great platform for working on that.”

Team co-owner Sylvan Adams: “I’m excited that the Israel Start-Up Nation team will kick off the 2021 season in Argentina once again, as we have raced the Tour of San Juan 3 times.  Chris Froome has been training hard, and this will be his first opportunity to represent ISN as he races in our blue and white colors and returns to form.”

Vuelta a San Juan Governor Sergio Unac welcomed Israel Start-Up Nation and Chris Froome during a press conference in San Juan tonight where he presented the 39th edition of one of the biggest races in the American Continent. The cancellation of the Australian races due to the Corona crisis has made San Juan the first major race of the season. Four WorldTour teams will participate, including ISN, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Bora-Hansgrohe, and Cofidis. Four Pro Conti teams and eight national teams will complete the race’s lineup.

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