For three consecutive stages, the ICA led breakaways from the Pelaton, accumulating more than 560km at the head of the race. During the first stage, Israeli rider Guy Sagiv led the breakaway. Sagiv was already making history as the first Israeli cyclist to participate in a World Tour race.
The ICA’s remarkable display culminated in the fourth stage of the race — known as the “Queen” stage, a 219km climb into the Apennine Mountains. Academy riders spearheaded the breakaway group of the race and then sent one of its best riders, Belgian cyclist Ben Hermans, to an onslaught on the final mountain finish.
Incredibly, Hermans was able to beat some of the greatest climbers in the world, including Tour de France winner Chris Froome, eventually finishing fifth.
“It might be Israel Cycling Academy’s best performance ever,” said team Chief Sports Director Kjell Carlstrom.
“We are certainly stepping up and showing constantly that we deserve the chance to fight with the best.” The team’s performance is seen as a rehearsal for the historic Giro d’Italia, which will start in Jerusalem on May 4, as part of a three-day ‘Big Start’ in Israel.
It will be the first time an Israeli team has competed in a Grand Tour event and the first time such a race has been held outside of Europe.