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James Piccoli signs new two-year deal with Israel Start-Up Nation

James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation) recovers after his effort in the closing kilometres of Mount Buller
James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation) at the 2020 Herald Sun Tour in Australia in January (Image credit: Con Chronis)

Canadian climber James Piccoli has become the latest member of Israel Start-Up Nation to commit his future to the team, extending his contract for two years.

Piccoli rose to prominence racing for the Elevate-KHS squad in 2019, taking podium spots at the Joe Martin Stage Race, Tour of the Gila, Tour de Beauce and Tour of Utah before making the step up to the WorldTour with ISN for 2020.

The 28-year-old made his Israel Start-Up Nation debut at the Tour Down Under in January, also racing the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Herald Sun Tour before racing ground to a halt due to COVID-19.

"I have a number of goals with this team," Piccoli said in a team press release. "First is having fun and enjoying what I love most. Number two is to be a really good bike rider, and with the company of the riders in this team, I know that I can develop more, help them in races and eventually be able to do what they are able to do: win the biggest races in the world.

"But third, and that is the main reason that I race, is to make my parents proud. My dad and my mom are my biggest fans. They have seen the whole journey, and I would not have been a cyclist without them. I owe my career, now another two years on WorldTour level with ISN, to them."

As one of several climbers on the Israel Start-Up Nation squad, alongside the likes of Dan Martin and Ben Hermans, Piccoli could be called into action as a key part of Chris Froome's Tour de France support squad in 2021, depending on his progress.

Piccoli has impressed the team so far, with team manager Kjell Carlström praising the attitude he displayed during the early months of the season, adding that ISN believe that the Canadian can continue his progression towards being a Grand Tour support rider or stage hunter.

"He presented a great attitude during the first few months this year where he took on board the feedback when failing in some races, and rose to a higher level towards the following goals," Carlström said.

"We are certain that James can continue to progress and really establish himself as a great support rider in Grand Tours or going for personal success in races on hilly and mountainous terrain."

Piccoli is the eighth rider to pen a two-year deal since May. Rick Zabel, Tom Van Asbroeck, André Greipel, Mads Würtz Schmidt, Jenthe Biermans, Matthias Brändle and Alexander Cataford have all signed similar contracts guaranteeing their time at the team through to the end of 2022.