Refreshed from its successful debut in the international Argentinian stage race, Israel’s Cycling Academy Team divided its interest into two separate and simultaneous stage races at the weekend.
A six-man team lined up to contest the International Istria Spring Classic in Croatia, taking 21st place in the team results with Daniel Turek best-placed individual at 1 minute and 18 seconds in the overall General Classification.
The second event, rated Israel’s toughest and most prestigious road race, the Tour of Arad, saw two of the team on the final podium in first and second places.
The race, consisting of four stages over three days of racing, took place on the city of Arad and the Dead Sea.
The 41-minute Team Time Trial run in the Negev Desert was a well-executed performance by the four-man team, putting them into total control of the race. They were initially quite successful, pulling a double victory in the first two stages. After the huge TT win, the four set about to control the race successfully in the last stage.
The race came to a close on Sunday with a 100km stage which included the mythic Scorpion climb, resulting in a win overall for 21-year-old Ido Zilberstein, with Israel’s current Champion, Yoav Bear (24), in second place 30 seconds behind.
Bear took much of the effort on his shoulders, battling the desert’s winds with his three team companions. The team also placed first overall in the Team Competition.
Peter Sagan, three times Green Jersey winner of Tour de France, commented: “Congratulations to Ido and to the guys for winning a stage race so fast. I’m proud of you guys and I hope to train with you one day on that crazy Scorpion Hill, then take a mud-bath in the Dead Sea.”
Report by Stan Rose