Still, if you ask Aviad Izrael, the Israel Cycling Academy manager, he doesn’t hesitate to answer when asked to pick his MAN in the Israeli under-23 championship race.
“It’s LAHAV DAVIDZON,” he says. “And as a matter of fact, he is my pick for ICA’s rider of the year. Nobody improved as dramatically as this guy in every facet of his game: mental, numbers, racing savvy, and most of all – dedication to the team’s success. Let me tell you this, when we started building our team for next season – he was the first rider we signed.”
A case in point was the National Championship race. Unlike the ISN quartet that battled one against the other, Aviad demanded a team-oriented race from his young men. “We wanted to make sure that nobody else would take it from us. That was the priority.”
With this kind of strategy somebody had to sacrifice his personal ambitions, and it was Davidzon, the 20-year-old rider from Tivon. “He initiated the highest number of attacks – at least 10 – to make sure we would drop most of the non-ICA riders. He was the one coming back to the car to get the instructions to bring back to his teammates. He did all that, knowing that he would have no energy left to go for the victory when we got late in the game.”
It worked perfectly, and in the end, it was Lahav’s teammates who went for the podium moves: Edo Goldstein (2nd) escaped, Omer Lahav chased and eventually won the title, and Saned Abu Fares escaped to grab the last step on the podium. Perfect.
Last but not least was the impressive performance by another ICA’s prodigy, the 20 years old Eitan Levi who was the surprise runner up in the Elite Nationals.
Although beaten by Omer Goldstein who took the title, Levy showed a glimpse of his promising potential. “It’s up to him to decide how far he wants to reach” said Izrael.
Next season is already on the way for ICA, and Aviad’s wish is to see his Israeli homegrown talent continue to progress rapidly. “Some of them will get the opportunity to race with the big boys in Israel Start-Up Nation. They better be ready.”