Israel Cycling Academy has elevated Clément Carisey from his stagiaire role to a spot on the Pro Continental team next year. The 26-year-old joined the team in August and raced 27 days, including a healthy dose of Belgian one-day races, the Czech Cycling Tour and the Tour of Hainan.
Jumping from an amateur team to the Pro Continental level is a big move for the rider in a year when many veterans are still without teams, but the confident Frenchman says he's not surprised he made the team's 2019 roster.
"I thought that I left a good impression on most days," he said in a statement released by the team. "But it's not easy these days in pro cycling, and it's not usual to see an amateur rider get the opportunity to break in at my age. So I would admit that when I got that call I was extremely happy with it. I guess its worth believing in your dreams."
Carisey started racing with the team at the Czech Cycling Tour in August, then went straight to Belgium for nearly a dozen one-day races that included the Great War Remembrance Race, where teammate Mihkel Räim won. He also competed in 1.HC races at the Brussels Cycling Classic and the Primus Classic. He went home to France next for Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours. Carisey finished out the season with an Asian trip to Hammer Hong Kong and the nine-day 2.HC Tour of Hainan, where he nabbed a top-10 finish on stage 8.
"Clement proved his value to the team in more than one way," said team General Manager Ran Margaliot. "He had shown his ability to make a difference as a support rider, with full dedication to his leader as well as race intelligence and experience of when and where to place himself at crucial moments.
"But what actually impressed me the most was his human qualities off the bike," Margaliot said. "A rider at his age, who spent all his life in French teams, to come into a unique structure as ICA, learn English in record time and adapt so rapidly, it is an impressive achievement. In a way you get the feeling that you can throw Clement into any situation and he will be just fine. He is the perfect teammate and will be a great addition to our growing team."
Carisey is the eighth new rider to sign with Israel Cycling Academy, following Tom van Asbroeck, Matthias Brandle, Davide Cimolai, Rudy Barbier, Riccardo Minali, Connor Dunne and Matteo Badilatti. The team also signed key contract extensions with Räim, Ruben Plaza, Krists Neilands, Zak Dempster and Guillaume Boivin.
Carisey's role within the team will be as a key lieutenant for Räim, the team's most prolific winner over the past three seasons.
"We trust him him to be a key man in our 'Miku train' as well as a breakaway man," said team director Lionel Marie. "Carisey will be the key figure in all the French races that the team will take part next year alongside French teammate and sprinter Rudy Barbier, who joined the team as well.
"It will allow us to be a factor in the French races," Marie said. "They are super aggressive, and both riders are used to that."
At 26, Carisey is coming to professional cycling relatively late, but he put his cycling aspirations aside until graduating from university with a Sports Education degree. He joined French amateur team Pro Immo and won several races before taking on the trainee role with Israel Cycling Academy. Now he wants to take his racing to the top level.
"The team is young," Carisey said. "But the team will only get stronger, and we can really get to the top. Add to that our new partnership with a French amateur team [Cote D'armour] and having two french riders here. Altogether it will give us significant visibility in France. So sure, why not dream about la Tour for ICA?"