The team comprises cyclists of three religions, from 16 different countries on five continents, including recent addition Ahmet Örken, the 2017 Turkish National Time Trial cycling champion.Örken’s participation is further proof of the Israel Cycling Academy’s ability to break down barriers.
Spain’s Ruben Plaza and Italy’s Kristian Sbaragli have won stages of the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana respectively. The team also includes five of Israel’s top cyclists, including national champion Roy Goldstein, hoping to make their mark on the international stage.
On a day of celebration for the Academy, they received the prestigious title of Peres Center 'Ambassador for Peace' by Chemi Peres, son of the late President Shimon Peres, at a ceremony attended by Ambassadors from many countries.
ICA co-owner Adams said: “Despite its focus on developing Israeli cyclists, ICA is one of the most diverse pro cycling teams, with riders from 16 different nations on five continents represented on the team.
"Our athletes understand that being on an Israeli team, they are each ambassadors for the team’s home country.
"Our team bonding camp held this week in Israel was intended to familiarise, educate, but mostly get the riders to bond together and enjoy their experience in Israel amongst its people.
"The power of our ICA project to bring this diverse group together to ride under our Israeli colours in pursuit of common goals gives me and these fine athletes great pride.”
Örken’s said: “For me, the opportunity to ride in the Israel Cycling Academy is a great honor and a major professional challenge.
"No Turkish cyclist has ever raced for a team at this level. But beyond this, just as the Academy does not see itself as just a cycling team, I don’t see myself just as a cyclist. Together, we have the opportunity to excite and inspire people, and to change the world around us.
"The fact that a Turkish cyclist is competing side by side with Israeli cyclists and others from around the world, and striving together for victory sends a message of coexistence and peace to all. For all the team members, and especially for me, it is a great privilege to be made an Ambassador of Peace."
The ICA is Israel’s first and only professional cycling team. As a non-profit team, its values, ethos and commitment to social change set it apart from its competitors, and ensure that its significance extends far beyond the realm of sport.