Israel Cycling Academy name roster for Tour of California debut

Pro Continental team will bring sprinters and breakaway opportunists after Hermans is injured

The Israel Cycling Academy Pro Continental team will make their Amgen Tour of California debut next week with a roster set to hunt stage wins with sprinters and breakaway specialists.

The seven-rider roster includes Israeli champion Roy Goldstein and Guy Sagiv, the first Israeli to finish a Grand Tour last year at the Giro d'Italia. Edwin Ávila, the former Colombian national champion, will be on hand for the sprints, assisted by Norwegian Sondre Holst Enger. Swiss climber Matteo Badilatti will look for opportunities on stage 2 to South Lake Tahoe and during the Queen stage to Mt. Baldy, while emerging Canadian talent Alex Cataford and Kiwi Hamish Schreurs are breakaway specialists who will look for days to go off the front.

The team had planned to support Belgian Ben Hermans in the general classification, but a knee injury suffered in Fleche Wallonne caused them to shuffle the decks for the California and Giro d'Italia rosters.

"We intended that he would be our GC man in California, but he just could not recuperate on time, so we needed to change strategy," said said team manager Kjell Carlström. "Instead of going with GC aspirations to California, we're sending a very versatile team that can be in contention at every stage. We have two fast riders [Avila and Enger], a great climber [Badilatti] and guys for breakaways like Canadian Alex Cataford, plus two Israelis with very special motivation."

The seven-day WorldTour race will throw more than 20,000 metres of climbing at the peloton, including a difficult day on stage 2 and then again during the queen stage to Mt. Baldy on the penultimate day. Sprinters will have three or four opportunities, while plenty of mid-stage climbing will provide opportunities for breakaway specialists.

"For us, it’s really home away from home," Goldstein said. "I expect so many Israeli flags on the side of the roads. It will give us goosebumps and amazing motivation. I followed this race for years, and it will be great to take part in it."

Israel Cycling Academy for Tour of California: Edwin Ávila, Matteo Badilatti, Alex Cataford, Sondre Holst Enger, Roy Goldstein, Guy Sagiv, Hamish Schreurs


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