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Demol set to join Israel Cycling Academy as sports director for 2020

Sports director Dirk Demol offers his Katusha-Alpecin rider Mads Würtz Schmidt a bottle and some advice on stage 1 of the 2019 Volta ao Algarve
Sports director Dirk Demol offers his Katusha-Alpecin rider Mads Würtz Schmidt a bottle and some advice on stage 1 of the 2019 Volta ao Algarve
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Experienced Katusha-Alpecin sports director Dirk Demol will join Israel Cycling Academy in the same role for 2020, and help to steer young German talent Nils Politt at the spring Classics, according to reports in the Belgian media.

Sporza.be reported on Wednesday that Demol and fellow Katusha-Alpecin sports director Claudio Cozzi will make the transition to Israel Cycling Academy after it acquired Katusha's WorldTour licence for 2020, taking on a number of the team's riders for next season in the process, in what is effectively a merger of the two teams.

Demol grew up in the heart of Classics country in Kuurne, Belgium, and has lived and breathed the early-season one-day races his whole life. In 2019, he guided Politt to second place at Paris-Roubaix and fifth at the Tour of Flanders, and will likely work closely with Politt again at Israel Cycling Academy, with the 25-year-old German having also been announced as moving across to the team on Tuesday.

Demol won Paris-Roubaix in 1988 while riding for Belgian pro team ADR – the same team that Greg LeMond would join in 1989, and win the Tour de France with by eight seconds – and finished third at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, in his hometown, the previous year.

Demol retired from racing in 1995, and became a sports director with the Discovery Channel team in 2005, going on to work for Quick Step, Astana and RadioShack, which later morphed into the current Trek-Segafredo WorldTour squad.

He subsequently left Trek-Segafredo at the end of the 2018 season to become head sports director at Katusha-Alpecin for 2019.

Along with Politt, the 2020 Israel Cycling Academy team boasts the likes of Grand Tour contender Dan Martin of Ireland, experienced German sprinter André Greipel, British time trial champion Alex Dowsett and Canadian favourite James Piccoli, who makes the step up to WorldTour level from US Continental team Elevate-KHS.