Israel’s only professional cycling team, Israel Start-Up Nation, is making history this Sunday by competing in the UAE Tour, to become the first Israeli team to participate in the Middle East’s top cycling race. The race will unfold over the coming week, crossing all seven of the United Arab Emirates, from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. The race will be broadcast to television audiences around the world.
Israeli rider Omer Goldstein, 23, will be in the Israel Start-Up Nation team, alongside the team’s biggest stars, to help secure a stage win for the team. “Competing in the UAE in the team uniform is an inspiring moment. Until recently, it would have seemed like an unrealistic dream,” said Goldstein. “In all honesty, I am still finding it hard to digest, but once I am on the start line, I will be fully focused on just one thing – Helping the team win.”
“For me,” he said, “This is the victory of sports, and being here is proof of that.”
Goldstein was pleasantly surprised by the warm reception the team has received right from the start. When the team arrived at training in the vast Al Qudra Cycling Park, they stumbled on surprised local cyclists. After the initial shock, seeing the Israel Start-up Nation logo, some of them waved with friendly smiles and even asked for selfies.
“It was amazing,” said Goldstein. “I wish we had a cycling park like that in Israel. We need to learn from the Emirates.”
Co-owner of the Israel Start-Up Nation team, Sylvan Adams, will attend the race to witness one of the most significant moments in the team’s history. He commented, “Team Israel Start-up Nation is excited to be competing in the UAE Tour for the first time in 2020. The participation in this race by our Israeli team in a Middle Eastern nation is emblematic of how cycling can be a force for diplomatic openness and progress. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that sport can be a force for peace, and this is one of the missions of Team ISN. Naturally, we are hoping for a good result at the UAE Tour, and hope our many fans will tune in to watch.”
The UAE Tour is the Middle East’s largest professional cycling race and the only one in the region which is part of the World Tour competition – the very highest level of the sport. Israel Start-Up Nation is competing on the World Tour for the first time this season, as one of the world’s 19 biggest professional cycling teams. As a World Tour competitor, Israel Start-Up Nation gained automatic entry to the UAE Tour, where competitors will include the world’s greatest riders such as multiple Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
Israel Start-Up Nation will make history again in June when it becomes the first Israeli team to compete in the Tour de France – the world’s third most-watched sporting event, after the quadrennial Summer Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup.
The UAE Tour begins on Sunday, on the artificial island of Abu Dhabi, taking the riders on a 148-kilometer course around the city, ending at its ‘Silicon Oasis.’ During the following stages, the race will traverse the deserts and streets of all seven Emirates, before finishing in central Abu Dhabi.