Israel Start-Up Nation is to become Israel-Premier Tech for the 2022 season, with Canadian company Premier Tech joining the squad, which contains four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, as co-title sponsors.
The deal was finally confirmed on Thursday, and followed Premier Tech stepping back from its previous sponsorship deal with Astana.
With Jakob Fuglsang and Hugo Houle both joining the Israeli squad from Astana, it looked like the deal was set, but Thursday's announcement made the partnership public.
Previously, the Canadian company had been linked with deals with teams including Rally Cycling, Team BikeExchange and Qhubeka NextHash.
"With the presence of all four Israelis, and five of the six Canadians competing in the UCI WorldTour, this team is, in many ways, a reflection of my two nationalities," team owner Sylvan Adams said in a press statement.
Along with Houle, the Canadians at Israel-Premier Tech are Michael Woods, Guillaume Boivin, James Piccoli, and Alexander Cataford.
Adams said: "As a Canada-based, international company, Premier Tech is a natural partner for us, and we are the natural home for Premier Tech. I am proud that Jean Bélanger and Premier Tech have joined our project. Premier Tech will help us reach the lofty goals we’ve set for this team, and I am thrilled to welcome Premier Tech as co-title sponsor and unveil our new jersey today.
"I wish to also express my gratitude to Tel Aviv-based Start-Up Nation Central, for their trust and support these last two years," he continued. "And, although they will not be a title sponsor, I am pleased that SNC will continue to support the team, while generating exposure around the world where Israel-Premier Tech races for the Israeli start-ups SNC nurtures and supports."
According to reports, Premier Tech withdrew from their co-sponsorship of the Astana team partly over the role of Alexandre Vinokourov within the team. Last year, he was forced to step aside before being reinstated a few months later.
Bélanger, Premier Tech's president and CEO, said: "When it came time to decide Premier Tech’s next chapter in WorldTour cycling, we were determined to take our time to find the best possible fit for a long-term partnership. From the moment I started conversations with Sylvan Adams, whom I have known for many years, it was clear we saw things in common and shared a vision.
"Through the course of our discussions and interactions between Sylvan and myself, as well as other leaders from the team, that feeling was reinforced and led us to make this announcement today.
"The team already has a solid Canadian presence as well as a strong international focus, which was a crucial factor for a company like Premier Tech, which has some 5000 team members in 28 countries and a commercial presence in more than a hundred. We are all very excited here at Premier Tech to hit the ground running in 2022 as Israel-Premier Tech in what, I am sure, will be a successful year for our team."
Along with Fuglsang and Houle, Israel-Premier Tech have signed Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo from Qhubeka NextHash to strengthen their team.
The team also released their new kit, which has a similar palette to the 2021 version, but with a funkier pattern on the lower half of the jersey, and the addition of the new sponsors.
"2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Israel-Premier Tech," said general manager Kjell Carlström. "As a team, we have always aimed to grow with each year and now, after two years at the WorldTour level, we are embarking on a significant new chapter with the arrival of Premier Tech.
"We have added some important names to our rider roster, in addition to an already strong team, and together with partners Sylvan Adams, Ron Baron, Kevin Ham, and Jean Bélanger from Premier Tech, we believe we can aim for an ambitious first season as Israel-Premier Tech, building on what has been a successful trajectory for Israel’s first professional cycling team."
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