The Israel-Cycling Academy have described their wildcard invitation to the Giro d'Italia as "a historic moment for Israeli sports and a great honour," promising to now target a stage victory and to place a team leader "high on the GC".
Giro d'Italia organizer RCS Sport revealed the four wildcard teams invited to the this year's race on Saturday, with Israel-Cycling Academy, Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani-CSF and Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia securing the much sought after places in the first Grand Tour of the season. For a second year, there was no place for Nippo-Vini Fantini, with the Irish squad Aqua Blue Sport also missing out.
The Israel-Cycling Academy team was also invited to Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.
With the 101st edition of the Giro d'Italia starting in Israel on May 4, the Israel-Cycling Academy team was widely expected to obtain a wildcard invitation, especially after boosting its 24-rider roster for 2018 by adding Ben Herman from BMC, Kristian Sbaragli from Dimension Data and Tour de France stage winner Ruben Plaza from Orica-Scott.
"Israel Cycling Academy earned this selection with our excellent team, including seasoned riders who have secured victories in two of the three Grand Tours," team owner Sylvan Adams, who is also the honorary president of the Giro d'Italia 'Big Start' in Israel, said in a statement from the team.
"We now expect to add a stage win in this year's Giro and to place a team leader high on the GC. These are our goals in this year's Giro and we wish to thank the race organizer RCS, for handing us this opportunity."
The Israel Cycling Academy team promised to go on the attack during the Giro d'Italia to show off its new white and blue jersey.
"Our team DNA is to attack. I am not afraid to say: We have a goal of winning a stage in the Giro!" directeur sportif Kjell Carlstrom said.
"The first step was already taken by adding 8 riders and forming a team of 24, including riders with a proven record of victories in Grand Tours.
"The most important thing will be getting the guys to race at a high standard in hard races to get used to the speed expected. The next 3 months of racing will help us to select our race strategy in the Giro, as well as the riders. We believe we have strong riders for both sprints and the mountains and since we have 24 there will be plenty to choose from."
The Israel Cycling Academy will make its 2018 debut in the WorldTour at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and have also secured an invitation to the Volta a Catalunya in late March.
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