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Hermans to make Tour de France debut for Israel Start-Up Nation

Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation) races to ninth place at the 2020 edition of Il Lombardia
Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation) races to ninth place at the 2020 edition of Il Lombardia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Ben Hermans is fully recovered from the injuries he sustained in a crash on stage 2 of the Tour Down Under back in January and will now participate in his first Tour de France at the end of this month, his Israel Start-Up Nation team has announced.

"I'm happy to make the squad for the Tour because it's the biggest race in the world," Hermans said in a press release on Thursday.

"The stages I'm looking forward to are the hard stages – the long, hard stages with climbs," the Belgian climber added. "We will have eight guys who can go for opportunities and work for each other to get stage victories."

Hermans – who has previously raced for teams that include RadioShack and BMC, and has ridden the Giro d'Italia four times and the Vuelta a España twice – fractured his collarbone and shoulder, and broke three ribs, in the crash that happened towards the end of the second stage of the Tour Down Under.

The 34-year-old returned to racing at the Vuelta a Burgos in July, and finished sixth on stage 3 of the Spanish race, and securing seventh place overall, before going on to take 15th at the Gran Piemonte last week, and ninth place three days later at Il Lombardia.

Hermans appeared to have ruled himself out of taking part in this year's Tour when he spoke out against the psychological impact of the requirements of social isolation in the build-up to the race at the start of last month, but has clearly been persuaded otherwise.

Israel Start-Up Nation – who are unveiling their eight-man Tour squad one rider at a time after announcing on Wednesday that Guy Niv would become the first Israeli to take part in the famous French race – later on Thursday also announced the participation of Tom Van Asbroeck, who is another rider who'll be making his Tour debut.

"It's big honour for me that the team has selected me to go to the biggest race of the year," said the 30-year-old Belgian. "Mainly, I'll be assisting our leaders, but you never know what might happen. Hopefully we can show the ISN colours at the Tour and be proud of the things we're able to achieve."