Camp will be the first gathering of the revamped 2021 squad
Squad’s visit to Israel postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions
Media days to include worldwide press conferences and interviews with the team’s owners and riders
January 4th (Tel Aviv, Israel) – Team Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) will open the 2021 season at a ten-day intensive training camp near Girona, Spain, starting on January 12.
The training camp will provide the first opportunity for the team, which has brought on nine new riders including cycling legend Chris Froome, to meet and train together for the upcoming season. Some members of the squad will travel straight from the camp to the season’s first series of European races, beginning in Mallorca in late January.
While ISN had originally planned to continue its tradition of holding the season’s opening training camp in Israel, the country has entered its third coronavirus lockdown, forcing a change of plans. The team still intends to visit Israel as soon as late February or March, when the situation allows. Israel has become the world’s leading country by vaccination rate (with over one million people, more than ten percent of the total population already vaccinated), giving real cause for optimism that the ISN squad will soon be able to visit the country.
Acknowledging the current challenges, team co-owner Sylvan Adams said, “We will hold a preliminary pre-season training camp in Spain, as it was impossible to confidently hold the camp in Israel, as we usually do, due to the COVID restrictions and with the borders closed to non-Israelis. So, we intend to do a second camp in Israel as soon as possible.
“We look forward to showcasing ISN’s home country to the riders, especially to our new signings who haven’t attended one of our Israeli training camps in the past. It will be a mixture of riding Israel’s diverse terrain, as well as visiting our world-class tourist and historical sites. These camps have been a big hit with the riders in the past, and we will maintain the tradition of introducing our riders and staff to the team’s home country.”
Girona was the logical location for the team’s first gathering of the season, given that it hosts the Israel Start-Up Nation logistics center in Europe. Many of ISN’s riders reside and train in Girona, which is well-known for its varied terrain, low traffic, and comfortable weather. “For us, Israel is the best location for the training camp,” said team manager Kjell Carlstrom, “but under the circumstances, Girona was a natural choice.”
With so many additions to the squad and ambitious goals for the future, the camp will see the team divided by strength and specialty: General Classification (overall race leadership), Classics and sprinters. “We need to give them the chance to train and learn how to achieve their different goals together. It is critical, with so many new riders and the new goals we have in front of us,” said Carlstrom.
For the team, which is openly focused on its primary goal of becoming a strong force in stage races, it will be the first chance to see the riders expected to lead the way in these races in action.
However, Chris Froome will most likely miss the Girona training camp. The team made the decision that Froome should instead continue his intense training and rehab program in California before returning to Europe to join the team’s racing program.
Paulo Saldanha – the team’s head of performance explained the decision: “Chris Froome, has made great progress with both his rehab and strength work to rebalance his body since his significant injury. After our internal assessment and discussion, we felt it was important for him to continue in his current environment in California. We feel this is most conducive for continuing his progress both on and off the bike.”
The camp will be attended by the team’s co-owners, Sylvan Adams and Ron Baron and all its sports directors. Three media days will take place from January 16-18. They will include special press conferences, intensive training sessions, and conversations with the owners and riders INCLUDING CHRIS FROOME who will join the press conference and other media events via satellite. Chris will also take part in some of the camp meetings via zoom.
The team’s Girona training camp will take place under strict COVID rules, similar to those used successfully in WorldTour races last season.
Photos: Ronen Topelberg and Brian VeloImages.