Along with jumping to the Pro Continental level for 2017, the Israel Cycling Academy has founded an eight-rider development team to help younger riders move to the next level. The new squad features four of Israel's top young mountain bikers and four top road racers.
"This is an investment, not only in our future, but in the future of Israeli cycling." said team manager Ran Margaliot. "We took not only road cyclists, but also several great mountain bikers. We see ourselves responsible to support and guide those young Israeli talents. We want to give them the opportunity to make it to the highest levels of the pro cycling world."
The selection process included a series of testing sessions, with the eight final riders making the cut. Among the eight riders are Guy Leshem, 19, who was crowned the Junior national champion on both Road and MTB cross country, as well as Omer Goldstein, who raced as a stagiaire with the pro team in 2016 and achieved two top 10 finishes in the recent Tour of Rwanda.
Other development team riders include Ido Bear, 19, Guy Niv, 22, Itamar Einhorn, 19, Guy Sessler, 21, Yam Poliak,19, and Uri Leoncini, 18. Israeli National MTB team director Aviad Izrael will be the new team manager, while Spaniard Sports director Oscar Guerrero, who is also working with the Pro Continental team, will direct the development team on the road.
The team is hoping to compete in some of the top UCI U23 races, including Paris-Roubaix U23, Giro del Valle d’Aosta and the U23 Giro d’Italia. The Pro Continental "Mother Team" intends to take the best two or three riders from its feeder team as stagiaires later on in 2017.
Cycling Academy Development Team 2017 roster: Ido Bear, Itamar Einhorn, Omer Goldstein, Uri Leoncini, Guy Leshem, Guy Niv, Yam Poliak, Guy Sessler