Canadian Guillaume Boivin has secured the fourth of eight spots on the Israel Cycling Academy roster for the upcoming Giro d'Italia, the team announced today. The Pro Continental team previously announced that Ben Hermans, Krists Neilands and Rubén Plaza will start the Italian Grand Tour when the race rolls out of Jerusalem on May 4.
"We decided to secure G's place in the Giro since he proved once again his dedication to the team and his willingness to put the team good before his own ambitions," said team manager Kjell Carlstrom. "He is an experienced and strong rider that we need in the critical and decisive moments in the Giro stages. I really wanted to let him know he is in so he can relax his mind and prepare for the challenge."
The team also eliminated two riders - Dutchman Dennis van Winden and Israeli Roy Goldstein - from the long list being considered for the Giro roster. Van Winden recently injured himself in a crash at Brabantse Pijl and will not be able to prepare properly for the Giro, while Goldstein is not yet ready for a three-week tour, according to the team.
"It's a sad period for me because I am missing out on races I really worked toward," Van Winden said. "I will have little break and continue with an altitude camp probably so I can come back strong."
Boivin brings Grand Tour experience to Giro roster
Boivin, 28, has been with the team since 2016 when Israel Cycling Academy raced on the Continental level. The 2015 Canadian road champion moved over from Optum after spending two years at the WorldTour level with Cannondale in 2013 and 2014, years that saw him compete twice in the Vuelta a España. He was taken two wins for the team, his first at the Tour of Rwanda and his second last year at the Tour of Taihu Lake.
Before lining up recently at Brabanste Pijl and Amstel Gold, Boivin spent a week with the team at Sierra Nevada in Spain training at altitude.
"I've had a really busy early part of the season," he told Cyclingnews at the camp. "I think I'm up to 25-30 race days already, so it was more just to join the group and get some altitude adaptation, but also a time to relax mentally and physically."
Boivin will head next to the Tour of Croatia this week to continue sharpening his form for Italy, where he told Cyclingnews he expects to play a big role in the sprint train.
"I'm not sure how we're going to play GC there with the guys, but I'll try to support them and then get maybe in some breakaways on the key stages. But I think I'll be there mainly for the sprints. I'll start with that idea and see from there where we go with breakaways and all that kind of stuff."
Breakaways should figure large in the team's plans in the first Grand Tour since moving to the Pro Continental level last year. While GC ambitions may be a long shot, flying the team's colours in breakaways throughout the three weeks, and especially during the two road stages in Israel, will be likely a high priority.
"For a team like us in the Giro, we have to be in the breakaway very day if we can," Boivin said, admitting that the team would really like to find success while the race is in Israel.
"We have sprinters, so on sprint days we want to have good results, and to do it in Israel would be huge," he said. "But for the team it's even bigger. It's our home country and all this, but I think the Giro as a whole is super important for the team. Anything we can get we'll take."
Israel Cycling Academy for the Giro d'Italia: Guillaume Boivin, Ben Hermans, Krists Neilands, Rubén Plaza
Israel Cycling Academy Giro d'Italia long list: Edwin Avila, Zak Dempster, Nathan Earle, Sondre Holst Enger, August Jensen, Guy Niv, Guy Sagiv, Kristian Sbaragli, Daniel Turek
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