The Good and the Bad – but what a time we have had!
Lots of excitement and more to come!
The ISN roller coaster, probably the best story in pro cycling in the opening month of the 2020 season, just keeps on going! What a ride we had since starting our WorldTour life last month! Since we have just seen the end of the first block of racing and are ready to move on, let’s review what has happened, both the good and the bad.
Take a look back at it with us:
- Andre Greipel comes back to life. “The Gorilla” may not have brought in any wins, but he sure came roaring back to life after his dismal 2019 season. We know he is one to fight back and he sure proved it, with three top six finishes in the Tour Down Under, a race he knows and loves.
- ISN accumulates dozens of top 10 finishes – most in the Pro Tour. Well, we knew we wouldn’t be winning every race we started – wouldn’t that be great, though? But we sure are showing that we have the right stuff and are already making ourselves noticed in this our first season in the top ranks. To date, we have brought in an astonishing 29 top ten finishes in some 40 days of racing around the world. The first one was January 21 in the Tour Down Under and the most recent were on Sunday in the Tour de la Provence and the Clasica Almeria. And that total includes both sprints and climbs! But speaking of wins…
- First victory recorded – in Argentina! Rudy Barbier, you are THE MAN! Our first win! In his first race of the year, wait, make that his FIRST STAGE of the year. He took the win in a masterful sprint in Stage One of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina. We will just assume this will be the first of many for him this year, and of course the first of many for the whole team!
- Dan Martin is BACK with great debut. Dan may not have been happy the last two years, but he has shown he is happy with the Israel SUN team. And we are happy to have him with us! In his very first race of the season, the feisty Irishman came in fourth on a punchy uphill finish in Stage 2 in Valenciana. And then he repeated that act, finishing fourth again on the difficult mountaintop finish of Stage 4, only six seconds down. And what did those two fourth place finishes mean? Fourth in GC!
5. TEAM losing 3 veteran riders for 3 MONTHS due to injuries. Ouch! Our injury list is a sad one, and sadly, a serious one. First down was Rory Sutherland, who broke his femur in Israel in December. At least he is back on his bike now. The next to go was Ben Hermans – a bad crash in Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under really wrecked his shoulder. Surgery has been successful but the Belgian will miss his beloved Spring Classics, and we will miss him there! Also out of those Classics is Andre Greipel. After his great opening race, he returned home to nasty weather and a training crash left him with a dislocated shoulder and a fracture in the shoulder. Surgery has been successful, and we will see our big German back on the bike ready for more action.
- First podium ever to an Israeli male rider. Itamar Einhorn – it may sound like an odd name for non-Israelis but remember it! Our young sprinter finished third on Stage 3 of the Tour Colombia. That is the best finish ever by a male Israeli rider in a top race. What an honor for him! Now of course we only must wait and see who the first Israeli will be to bring in a WIN!
All of these ups and downs! Of course, we are happy with all those Top Ten, but you know we want MORE than that!
And of course, the big question is: What comes next???