Teams from around the world in Colorado for cycling race
An upstart cycling team from Israel aims to make an impression during its first time at the event.
The USA Pro Challenge, one of America’s biggest annual cycling events, will take place August 17-23 in Colorado. In total, 16 teams with riders from around the world will compete in the weeklong race through Colorado’s mountains.
Australian Rohan Dennis of BMC Racing, this year’s Tour de France Stage 1 winner, is expected to be a favorite, as is current U.S. Champion Matthew Busche of Trek Factory Racing and Roman Kreuziger of Tinkoff-Saxo, considered cycling’s “Dream Team."
Cycling Academy, one of the newest additions to the sport and Israel’s first professional cycling team, will also be competing. Lending support to the team is cycling star Peter Sagan, a three-time winner of the Tour de France green jersey.
More than one million fans are expected to turn up for the
fifth edition of the race. The event has already grown into the largest
spectator sport in Colorado history.
The race starts in Steamboat Springs with a 49-mile circuit race. Stage 2 from Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin will have the riders climb two of Colorado’s highest mountain passes, Rabbit Ears Pass and Loveland Pass. Stages 3 and 4 will take the peloton over Aspen’s 12,096-foot Independence Pass – twice. The riders will then face a time trial in one of Colorado’s highest towns, Breckenridge, before heading back to the Front Range for the final two stages.
The young riders of Cycling Academy admit that this will be one of their most difficult challenges to date. The team was founded last November by 26-year-old manager and former cyclist Ran Margaliot who’s goal is to help an Israeli rider – and indeed his whole team – make it to the Tour de France.
The Israeli team – which is actually made up of riders from Israel, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Spain – expects wide support in America. “I’m delighted that the team will be racing in Colorado and I am confident that our friends overseas will stand by the riders and give them the support they need,” said Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who is himself an avid cyclist. Fans can follow along with the team on their Facebook page.
The Colorado squad will include Guy Sagiv, Dan Turek, Bartosz Warchol, Guy Gabay, Yoav Bear, Wojtek Migdal and Chava Angulo. Bear is considered to be the leader of the team and, at 24, he’s one of the oldest members. He had previously given up cycling, but came back to the sport when Cycling Academy was founded. Sagiv is the current road champion of Israel.
“I feel so privileged to get a chance to race in this huge race,” Sagiv told From the Grapevine just after being named to the list of racers for the Colorado event. “I realize that it will be the hardest race in my career but I am going to give it all.”
The Israeli team has been practicing for months leading up to the race. (Photo: Cycling Academy)
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