Israel Cycling Academy designers went back to the drawing board to develop a brand-new jersey that will carry the team's new 'Peace Ambassadors' title along with logos for the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. The UCI recently approved the team's last-minute changes to the previously released design.
The Peres Center nominated the team's riders to be peace ambassadors during the team's recent training camp in Israel, prompting the jersey change.
"From day one, we have always seen our team obligations reaching beyond the sports world," said Israel Cycling Academy General Manager Ran Margaliot. "We have a role as sports ambassadors but also as human ambassadors. We are ambassadors of goodwill, demonstrating the high values of human behavior, and carrying a message of peace."
The new jersey marks the first time the Peres Center, founded in 1996 by the late Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Israeli president Shimon Peres, has been promoted by a sports team.
"We see great value and importance that this unique professional cycling team is devoted to help build human bridges across religions and cultures and inspire the young generation of cyclists and others," the Peres Center noted in a statement released by the team.
The shoulders and sleeves of the updated jerseys prominently display the Peres Center logo of a flying dove carrying an olive branch. Each rider will carry the title of 'Peace Ambassador' on the back of his jersey alongside his name and national flag.
Three-time Mexican road champion Luis Lemus said the new jersey and title come with added responsibility.
“This title puts a lot of weight on our shoulders," he said. "It’s a big responsibility and at the same time an honour: to live and act according to its principles in all aspects of our lives.”
The new jerseys are lighter than the mostly black kit the team released last month. The new blue-and-white combination creates a brighter, more vivid look.
Margaliot said this blue is, "closer to the Israeli flag. We represent the multiple cultures of Israel and the world."
Team founder Ron Baron said the peace ambassador designation carries a responsibility to demonstrate peace between people from different backgrounds, while Baron's fellow co-owner, Sylvan Adams, said the team's diversity, with riders from 16 countries and five continents, is emblematic of Israel.
"In that way, the team's inclusive philosophy offers an example of how riders of various backgrounds and cultures can coexist in peaceful sportsmanship and work together towards common goals," Adams said. "This is the model we represent all over the world."
In 2018, the team will feature riders from Colombia, Canada, Australia, Spain, Norway, Israel, Belgium, Mexico, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Holland, United States and Turkey.
With the 2018 Giro d'Italia slated to start in Jerusalem next May, the Israel Cycling Academy management has been positioning the team for one of the wildcard invitations. Israel Cycling Academy added several riders from WorldTour teams among the new recruits for 2018, along with four new Italian sponsors.