The Israel Cycling Academy—founded in December 2014 as Israel’s first professional cycling team, and Katusha Management— a Swiss road bicycle racing team which competes at UCI WorldTeam level, have signed an agreement that will see the Israeli team race in the World Tour starting January 2020.
According to Cycling News, the Israeli team bought out the existing Katusha management company, and the team’s rider contracts for 2020 will be secured for the next three-years of the UCI WorldTour.
The ICA’s Canadian billionaire sponsor Sylvan Adams, who made Aliyah in 2015 and lives in Tel Aviv, has been eager for his team to step up to the Tour de France as soon as possible, while the Katusha-Alpecin team has lost the sponsorship of German racing bikes manufacturer Canyon Bicycles GmbH.
Sylvan Adams said in a statement: “I have stated for some time that ICA would be in the World Tour, sooner or later. I am excited that it is happening right away for next year’s season.”
According to the agreement, the Israeli team will race in the World Tour under the existing Katusha license (subject to UCI approval), which is being renewed for the next three years.
The Israeli team will use its traditional blue and white uniforms provided by Katusha branded apparel under a new sponsorship agreement.
Adams stated his confidence that the team will be up to the challenge: “We have several new riders, including some from the current Katusha team that will join, and I promise we will make some noise in lots of big races next year. We Are Just Getting Started.”
ICA’s co-owner and founder Ron Baron expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing Israeli riders racing for a World Tour Israeli professional team: “I am sure that this step will enhance our core vision to develop Israeli Cycling on the world stage. To see an Israeli rider in the Tour De France next season will be, for me, very satisfying,” Baron said.
ICA Pro Manager Kjell Carlstrom noted: “The team has been growing each year in an organic way, both organizationally and also on the rider side, and we feel ready for this new challenge. We have great chemistry on this team, and I am proud of what we accomplished together. Really excited for next year.”