Israel Start-Up Nation's Omer Goldstein won the postponed 2020 Israeli road race championships in Beit Guvrin on Saturday, outsprinting Israel Cycling Academy's Eitan Levi and defending champion Guy Sagiv.
"I admit it: I was in tears when I won it," Goldstein said on his team's website. "I know you'll say, 'This is far from being the most important race in your life,' but for a kid that grew up in a small village in Israel, raised as a youngster taking on his bike, I dreamed that I would become the national champion one day.
"And time and again, I came close," continued the 24-year-old, who finished second last season, third in 2018 and fourth back in 2015. "But finally, today, it happened. I couldn't believe that I'd won it at last – so now you understand why there were tears."
His WorldTour team fielded four riders at the National Championships road race – Goldstein, defending champion Sagiv, Guy Niv and Itamar Einhorn – and all four played a major role, just a day after it had been announced that all four riders had signed contract extensions with Israel Start-Up Nation to keep them there next season.
While Sagiv wasn't quite able to match Goldstein and Levi in the finishing sprint, and took third place, Niv broke away early, but was never allowed to gain more than two minutes' advantage, and Itamar also tried his luck in a solo move later on, but was caught with five kilometres to go.
"He was racing great," said Goldstein of Sagiv's efforts to take a fourth road race national title. "He did not want to give up the jersey without a fight."
It was 20-year-old Levi, however, who proved to be Goldstein's biggest rival, and who attacked on the final climb to try to take the blue-and-white jersey.
"It was maybe a mistake to attack on the last hill," Goldstein said. "I just stayed with him, and took off in the final 100 metres. But he is such a promising talent."
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