Peter Sagan helps launch first Israeli pro cycling team

New Pro Continental team launched by the Cycling Academy and Peter Sagan has international roster that will begin competing in January

Peter Sagan

(Image credit: Watson)

Peter Sagan has this week helped launch the first Israel based Pro Continental team in Jerusalem, which will begin competing in January at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

The team, setup by the Cycling Academy, aims to help the development of young Israeli athletes, as well as riders from areas like Slovakia and Poland.

Five Israelis riders, four Poles, a Slovakian and one rider from the Czech Republic, all aged between 16 and 25  make up the team so far, and Sagan, who was brought in as an ambassador on the project, said it's a something he's ready to get behind.

“I’m very happy for this project and I thank everybody for this idea, and working on this and choosing me for this,” he said in a short statement. “I want to see the growth of a lot of young guys and think this a very great opportunity to work with riders in a country where cycling is not very popular.”

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Sagan, who recently moved from Cannondale to join Tinkoff-Saxo for 2015, met with the new Cycling Academy team for a ride, with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat and the president of the Cycling Academy, Ron Baron also present to unveil the team.

Former pro road racer Ran Margaliot will be the team's manager for their first season, while ex-professional mountain bike rider Dror Pekatch and Jan Valach, who used to coach the Slovakian national squad, will make up the rest of the management team.

Baron, who helped initiate the project, says that the team will compete in 90 days of racing next year, and hopes one day to see them in the Tour de France alongside the likes of Sagan.

“Peter comes from a small country of five million people who normally would not have the chance to become top professionals like guys from Italy or Germany or France,” Baron told the Jerusalem Post .

“But he made it, and I think that he will be an inspiration for young cyclists from Israel.”

“A few years from now the team will race at the world’s highest levels," he added.

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