The Jerusalem Post

Israeli champion Goldstein to race for Start-Up Nation in Tour de France

- • Jerusalem Post Sports Staff

Israeli champion Omer Goldstein will race for Team Israel Start-Up Nation in the Tour de France.

It will be the first time that the versatile Israeli puncher from the north of Israel will race on the most prominent racing stage in the world, fulfilling what he called, “a dream I had since I was a kid.”

The 24-year-old added: “I always imagined myself being there in the front, in a mountain stage breakaway, going for it, not really concerned if they catch me or not, as long as I am going full gas and giving it my all.”

This combative approach to racing is one of the reasons that the team’s pro-management decided that the young Goldstein will be an excellent fit for ISN’s lineup in the Tour this year.

“Omer is what I call an ‘offensive rider’,” explained Rik Verbrugghe, ISN’s sports manager. “He is always ready to jump on a challenge with absolutely no fear. But much beyond that, we selected Omer because he can give the team a lot in the Tour in so many ways. Of course, his main task will be to assist our leader, Mike Woods, but he can be our man in a breakaway and, if the opportunit­y comes, he can get a great result. And in midrange mountain stages, he can be there in a selected group going to the finish. Omer has shown significan­t progress, and he fully deserves our trust in him.”

Indeed, in every stage that he raced this year – from the UAE Tour to the Tour of Catalunya to Dauphine – Goldstein has proved to be one of the most aggressive riders in the ISN lineup.

“I love to be part of the game,” he explained. “Of course, the Tour de France is the biggest race of all, and the stress in the peloton will be different. But I am confident that I am ready to help the team and have an impact on our quest to support Mike and get a stage win.”

Omer has developed a special bond with cycling legend Chris Froome this season, spending weeks together in altitude training camps and racing alongside each other in a four-stage race. He said he is enthusiast­ic and proud to race with Froome in the Tour, noting “I respect him so much, he has been a real mentor. Advising me. Talking to me about the little details that can make a difference. I just love to race and train with Froomey. He is such a great fighter. Never underestim­ate him. He is on the up and I believe he will surprise in the Tour.”

Goldstein’s first challenge, though, will come this Saturday – a whole week before the Tour – at the Israeli championsh­ips.

This will be the scene of a great battle between ISN’s top Israelis for the title that is currently held (for at least another couple of days) by Goldstein.

“I want to represent my country in the Tour, wearing the champion’s jersey,” he said. “I will do my best to defend my title on Saturday, but I can guarantee nothing. My Israeli teammates will do everything to win it, and that’s how it should be.”

Omer’s most enthusiast­ic and proudest fan at the Tour will no doubt be ISN’s co-owner, Sylvan Adams, who said, “Omer’s rapid progress as a rider has validated all of ISN’s efforts in developing Israeli cyclists. Omer graduated just a couple of years ago from our U23 Israel Cycling Academy to become a solid WorldTour pro. He will race in his first Tour de France as invaluable support to team leader, Mike Woods. Yalla Omer, all of Israel will be watching and rooting for you!”

 ?? (Courtesy) ?? ISRAELI CYCLIST Omer Goldstein will try to retain his national title this weekend ahead of the Tour de France.
(Courtesy) ISRAELI CYCLIST Omer Goldstein will try to retain his national title this weekend ahead of the Tour de France.

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