Classics specialist Sep Vanmarcke leaves EF Pro Cycling for Israel Start-Up Nation

The Belgian will be joining Chis Froome at the Israeli WorldTour team

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Classics specialist Sep Vanmarcke is leaving EF Pro Cycling after four seasons, joining Israel Start-Up Nation from next year.

The Belgian pro has signed a three-year deal with the Israeli WorldTour team to lead the squad in the spring Classics and to provide support in the Grand Tours.

Israel Start-Up Nation has made a number of big signings for 2021, most notably four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. 

Vanmarcke will also be joining his current team-mate Michael Woods, who will also be leaving EF Pro Cycling for a three-year contract with IN. 

Announcing his signing, 32-year-old Vanmarcke said: “My main objective is to win the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix in the next few years.

“I see how the team is growing. In only a few years it went from being a small team to a WorldTour team. Now that is has reached that level, it aims higher. And I do too.”

“They've build a strong group of riders for the next years – a combination of great riders already with the team and some big names who are joining them. I'm happy to be part of that group.”

Vanmarcke added: “I also like being part of an international team, an Israeli team which is open to all. ISN has a very international group of riders and staff. Getting to know all these new people and cultures will be very exciting! I’m looking forward to that first trip to Israel!”

Despite some very near misses in the Classics, Vanmarcke has yet to score that big one-day victory he has been chasing.

After winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2012, he has picked up a second-place finish in Paris-Roubaix and two bronze medals in the Tour of Flanders, with a total of seven top-10 finishes in the cobbled Monuments in his career.  

This year Vanmarcke was slightly off the pace - his best one-day result was 17th in both Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. 

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On their latest singing, ISN team manager Kjell Carlstrom said: “He has a lot of experience. He has proven that he is a great Classics rider but can also support a leader in a Grand Tour. And he also does well in time trials, so it is a perfect package.”  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.