ISN’s press conference ahead of the Tour De France 2021:
Adams: This year we hope to make some noise!
Froome: Special to make my return to the Tour with ISN
Woods: Certainly feel ready for the role as team leader
Goldstein: I think we can do something big
“The Tour de France is the biggest thing in cycling. Being here for the second time is a symbol of achievement for Israel Start-Up Nation and this year we hope to make some noise!”, team co-owner Sylvan Adams said at the team’s pre-Tour press conference on Wednesday.
The team is equally as excited. Mike Woods is making his debut as Tour team leader. “I certainly feel ready for the role. Unlike the other big names, I don’t have the expectations or pressure they have.
“I think I can be quite competitive at this race. I feel I have shown I am one of the strongest climbers in the peloton. I know that time trials are my weakness, but I feel like I have improved. And my goals are both to do well in the GC and to get stage wins. If I lose too much time in the time trials I will probably have more opportunities to attack in other stages.”
Woods also has his eye on the first two stages. “I haven’t ridden stage one yet , but Dan Martin did today and said it was challenging. I did stage two today and it is a proper Ardennes stage. We will see what Dan and I can do.”
Chris Froome is “really excited for this year’s start,” especially after missing the last two Tours due to recovering from a horrible crash in 2019. “Being back at last really motivates me, and it is special to be here with ISN.”
This year he will be in a supporting role, but he has no problem with that. “I am not going for GC but only to help the guys around me. Usually, the guys have done everything for me, now it is the other way around and I am glad to be able to pay it back a little.”
Israeli Omer Goldstein is honored to be riding his first Tour. “It’s really big. I am very excited and come here with a good form. I think we can do something big.”
His role is “to be a big help to the team get a stage win or GC, and to be in a break group. In a hilly or mountain stage ,I think I can do something in a break. Let’s see what the legs give me.”
Goldstein has trained extensively with Froome, who was very complimentary of his younger teammate. “Omer is a huge talent coming out of Israel. He is not here as ‘the token Israeli’, he deserves to be here because he is a good rider.”
Although he’ll be wearing the ISN blue and white, Woods will also be representing Canada, along with Guillaume Boivin,who is making his debut here. Woods sees the race as “an opportunity to represent Canada, and hopefully to motivate more Canadians to get on bikes, which is really important to me.”
The Canadian-Israeli Adams agrees. “We are the natural team for two countries – Israel of course, but also we are Canada’s team. I am really happy that we have two Canadians and one Israeli in our Tour de France line-up.”
At the Tour, the team will also be “Racing for Change”. As Adams put it, “We are more than just a cycling team. There is a Jewish concept called tikkun olam, an imperative to help improve the world. We are doing so by adopting a women’s team in Rwanda, the only women’s team there. We want to not only help them but to use it as a message to society to increase unity and peace in the world.”