Israel Start-Up Nation was formed in 2014, as Israel Cycling Academy.
The aim at the start was to develop young riders from all over the world, with an obvious focus on Israel.
Czech rider, Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy Continental Team), took the team’s first victory in the 2015 Tour of Azerbaijan.
It was in 2018 where the team really pushed into the big races with a wild card to their first Monument, Milan – San Remo and their first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, as the Giro was starting in Jerusalem that year.
Co-owner of the team, Sylvan Adams, played a big part in getting the Giro to Israel as he wanted to get the local public interested in cycling. It worked as the roads saw thousands of spectators come out and watch the race.
ISUN performed well at the Grand Tour with their best placed rider, veteran Spanish climber Ruben Plaza, finishing the race in 18th place in the general classification. Guy Sagiv also become the first ever Israeli rider to finish a Grand Tour.
New man, Ben Hermans, who had signed from BMC Racing, won the overall at the Tour of Austria plus a stage win.
The team also won the Great War Remembrance Race with Estonian national road race champion, Mihkel Räim.
The next year saw the team grow to 30 riders and a much larger racing calendar.
In January 2019 the team opened three cycling special youth programmes in Israel along with a youth cycling team.
The team operates a Development team with a select group of under-23 riders in an attempt to develop more talented Israeli riders.
Alongside this, ISUN have established a deal with one of the leading French amateur teams, Côte d’Armor, which allows its young riders to race in France and gain valuable experience overseas.
Climber Ben Hermans had a great year in 2019, with his stand out performance being at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, where he put in a commanding display and winning the overall.
Ben Hermans wins the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The Belgian also retained his title at the Tour of Austria.
Italian sprinter, Davide Cimolai, put in some great performances too with wins across multiple races.
In October of 2019 Israel Cycling Academy announced they would merge with the UCI WorldTour team, Katusha – Alpecin and move up to the top tier of cycling.
The UCI approved the move up to WorldTour and the team changed it’s name to Israel Start-Up Nation.
Along with the name change, some big name signing were brought in. André Greipel and Dan Martin both signed from Lotto-Soudal and UAE Team Emirates.
The team also kept on some key riders from the Katusha – Alpecin team, such as time trialing specialist, Alex Dowsett and young Classics star, Nils Politt, who had managed a second place at Paris-Roubaix earlier that year.
The 2020 season started brightly for the team as French sprinter, Rudy Barbier, managed to out pace some of the finest sprinters in the world to stage victory at the Vuelta a San Juan.
Hugo Hofstetter continued the success for French sprinters at the cobbled classic, Le Samyn, where he took victory.
Hugo Hofstetter of Israel Start-Up Nation takes the win at the 2020 Le Samyn. (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
In July 2020, it was announced that seven-time Grand Tour winner, Chris Froome, would join the team from the start of the 2021 season until the end of his career.
Alongside Froome, signings of Daryl Impey, Michael Woods, Sep Vanmarke and others have meant that the squad has a solid, if a little older, look to it in 2021.
Chris Froome training in California (Photos: Ronen Topelberg and Brian VeloImages)