New Israel cycling academy aiming high


Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has launched a Cycling Academy to compete in international competitions.

The first-ever Israeli-registered team will feature 12 cyclists, including five Israelis and seven from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

The new academy aims to boost the country’s professional cycling standards, with a view to compete in the Tour De France in future years.

Ran Margaliot and Ron Bar-On, two former professional Israeli cyclists, will advise the team, along with Peter Sagan, a 25-year-old Slovakian rider.

Margaliot said: “It was always my dream to compete in the Tour de France, but that didn’t happen. Now I’ve retired I thought what now, and then it occurred to me that the best thing I can do is help other Israelis be good enough for the Tour de France."

The Israeli team will debut at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina next month and they are aiming to participate in 12 competitions next year.

Bar-On said: "This team will aim to compete at the highest level and, looking further ahead, we have a vision. Israel has more than 300,000 cyclists but no professional infrastructure. We want to put something in place so that the best young talents can compete internationally."

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