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Niv to make history as first Israeli to ride Tour de France

Israel Start-Up Nation’s Guy Niv climbs during stage 3 of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné
Israel Start-Up Nation’s Guy Niv climbs during stage 3 of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Israel Start-Up Nation's Guy Niv will make history when he lines up in Nice on August 29 as the first Israeli rider to start the Tour de France

Teammate Guy Sagiv – who was the first Israeli rider to finish a Grand Tour when he rode the Giro d'Italia in 2018 – heads to the Italian Grand Tour once more in October, while Omer Goldstein will make his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España.

Dan Martin is expected to leader the Israel Start-Up Nation team, with veteran sprinter Andre Greipel also likely to have a place in the eight-rider team. The team has still to confirm its full line-up. Chris Froome will join Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021. 

Niv also started the 2018 Giro, but was forced to quit on stage 5 due to illness. However, he returned to the race in 2019 and was able to finish, taking 113th place overall in Verona.

"I am honored and privileged to represent my country and team in the biggest race in cycling, and one of the greatest sporting events in the world," 

Niv said in a team press release announcing his participation in the Tour on Wednesday. 

"And to be the first Israeli to do so? It might sound like a cliché, but it's a dream come true. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. It's huge. It's something I've always wanted to do – and now we are about to make history. I cannot wait!"

The team's co-owner, Sylvan Adams, added: "It's a proud moment for Israel, for Israeli sports and for me. Since last November, when we knew that our Israeli team would be riding in cycling's biggest race for the first time in 2020, I publicly stated that we would have an Israeli rider on our Tour squad, making history as the first from our country to race in the Tour de France. I am proud of Guy, who has worked hard to be in the best shape of his life, for earning this position."

"The selection of these young Israeli riders to all the three Grand Tours clearly demonstrates ISN's confidence in them to compete in the biggest races in the world. Good luck to all three," Adams said.

Niv added that he hopes that his Tour participation will be watched by the world, and by young potential riders in his home country, in particular.

"I hope that my start in the Tour de France will inspire kids in Israel to choose cycling as their sport," the 26-year-old climber said. 

"After we hosted the Giro d'Italia [in 2018], we started to see growth in Israeli cycling, and now comes the next big step.

"I get goosebumps from just the thought that I get to race in it, and it's even more meaningful because I get to do it for the country I love and it's a chance to show the beautiful side of Israel," Niv said.

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