The Israel Cycling Academy is hoping Colombian sprinter Edwin Avila’s triumph in Stage 3 of the Tour de Taiwan on Tuesday will prove to be a sign of things to come, arriving on the back of the most successful week in the team’s history.
The win is the first of Israel Cycling Academy’s 2018 season and comes following an impressive strong showing in Tirreno Adriatico as the team moves towards its first ever Grand Tour, the historic Giro d’Italia starting in Jerusalem in May.
The former track World Champion cyclist was overjoyed with his result and the team’s work. “This win is really important to me because it makes me really happy because I did this with my new team,” Avila explained.
“They had confidence in me and I responded well. It also gives me more confidence in the team and it gives the team more confidence in me because I’m new so they didn’t know me. We are really motivated to keep winning stages and races this season.”
Israeli rider Guy Niv played a key role in helping Avila to the win.
“There was a big long climb and the group split. Edwin and I were the only two from the team to make it to this group of twenty-five to thirty riders.
After the descent, there was a long flat section and no team took responsibility because there were too many guys, so there were a lot of attacks. I was helping Edwin cover all the moves and to make sure that no group went without him. Finally there was one attack and Edwin was there. I was happy to let him go because I knew that he was our best chance to win.”
The stage win comes on the heels of a noteworthy week for the team.
ICA sent a seven man squad to race in the prestigious Tirreno Adriatico, which came to an end in Italy with a time trial on Sunday.
ICA riders were part of the breakaway for an impressive four stages, with Belgian Ben Hermans finishing in an impressive fifth place on the Queen Stage.
Guy Sagiv became the first Israeli rider to complete a World Tour stage race on Sunday.
Meanwhile in Belgium over the weekend, Zak Dempster narrowly missed the podium at Ronde van Drenthe, placing fourth and finishing on the same time as winner Frantisek Sisr.
“The team is on a roll and we are obviously all extremely happy,” said general manager Ran Margaliot. “It’s beautiful to see how the boys keep motivating each other at different races around the world.
Hats off to Kjell Carlstrom, the Sports Director, and the entire staff who have made these results possible with an endless amount of hard work behind the scenes.”
Team owner Sylvan Adams is thrilled, but not surprised, with the recent show of strength from the Israeli squad.
“This week’s performances validate our pre-season preparations to strengthen ICA, as we build up to our historic participation in the coming Giro D’Italia. The riders have shown that we can ride in breakaways, and compete during flat or mountaintop finishes. Edwin Avila’s first win for the team in Taipei, and Ben Hermans’ finish with the world’s top climbers at the end of the Queen stage at Tirreno Adriatico, as well as courageous rides by Guy, Dennis, Krists, August, Guillaume and Zak all portend well for our coming races leading up to the Giro. Stay tuned, we’re going to make some noise.”
On Saturday, the team will make its debut at the Milano- Sanremo, which has been held since 1907 and will be another important preparation race ahead of the Giro.