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by Shane Stokes
April 26, 2018
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Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), photo by Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto
The first-ever Israeli participants in the Giro d’Italia have been confirmed, with the Israel Cycling Academy squad announcing its line-up for the race. The team gained a wildcard entry to the event and has now completed selection of its eight-man squad.
Guy Sagiv (23) and Guy Niv (24) will line out in home soil when the Giro begins in Israel on May 4. They will be joined by last weekend’s Vuelta a Castilla y Leon winner Ruben Plaza, Australia’s Zak Dempster, Italy’s Kristian Sbaragli, Latvian national champion Krists Neilands, former Canadian national champion Guillaume Boivin and the Belgian Ben Hermans.
“We have a wonderful and incredibly motivated team going to Jerusalem,” said Plaza. “We are making history for Israel and for all of us. I have no doubt, it will be a huge challenge to succeed in winning a stage but I am proud and excited to race with this group and battle the odds.”
Team Manager Kjell Carlström explained the decision to bring Sagiv and Niv. “Israel Cycling Academy has made changing the landscape of cycling in Israel its main priority. This is who we are and we all support this goal. It’s the reason this team was founded,” he said.
“While Sagiv and Niv have both progressed tremendously, bringing them to a Grand Tour already is definitely risky. Sure, we could have gone with a stronger team to the Giro, but we know that between their continuous improvements, their proven mental grit and the backing of their teammates, they will do everything to make it through. More than that, they will help us. I am proud of this decision and confident we are sending a balanced, experienced, and versatile team. We are all motivated to succeed and that means making an impact in the race and winning a stage would be the icing on the cake.”