Israel’s first team in Tour de France will promote the Startup Nation
Brought to you by Start-Up Nation Central Editorial

Israel Cycling Academy today announced its partnership with Start-Up Nation Central, a Tel Aviv-based nonprofit organization that connects companies around the world to Israeli innovation. Under the name ISRAEL START-UP NATION, the team will compete on cycling’s biggest stage for the very first time, as a new entrant in the World Tour .

As a result, it will become the first ever Israeli team to compete in the Tour de France, the world’s third most watched sporting events, after the quadrennial Olympic summer Games and the World Cup of Soccer, showcasing Israeli innovation to billions of television viewers.

Participation in the Tour de France represents the enormous progress made by Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) over just five years. ICA was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem as Israel’s first professional cycling team, with a clear vision to help Israeli cycling and to bring young cyclists, to the highest level of the sport. At the same time, riders from the team act as “ambassadors” for the home country, demonstrating a vision of peace through sport.

The 2017 season was the team’s first in the second-tier Pro Continental ranks and in 2018 the team raced in its first Grand Tour – the historic Giro d’Italia which started in Jerusalem. ICA raced again in the Giro d’Italia in 2019. This same season, the team significantly stepped up its racing performance and recorded 29 wins.

ICA carries 30 riders from 16 different nationalities.  The team is owned by Israeli Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams and Israeli businessman Ron Baron. Taking a minority interest this year is Kevin Lam, a Canadian, via his company, Reinvent.com.

“The dream of competing in the Tour de France, almost unthinkable only 5 years ago when we launched the team, is now coming true. A professional team with world class Israeli riders alongside the finest international talents, racing with pride in one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. Around 3.5 billion viewers in hundreds of countries across the world will see the Israeli flag and hear the message that this is a country bringing unrivalled innovation to the world,” said Sylvan Adams.

“By partnering with Start-Up Nation Central, we are showcasing the Israeli tech ecosystem on a global stage, sending a clear message that this is a country with so much to offer the world. I have no doubt that cutting-edge Israeli technology will give our team a competitive advantage as we race against the very best in world cycling,” continued Adams.

“Our goal is to get Israel’s powerful tech ecosystem behind the cycling team, as it becomes a formidable competitor, and leverage the knowledge gained from testing these technologies on Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team to benefit other athletic teams,” said Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO, Start-Up Nation Central (SNC).

With a population of approximately 9 million people, Israel has the most start-ups and the highest venture investment per capita in the world. “This is a potential force multiplier that the Israel Cycling Academy can tap into,” Prof. Kandel added.

The Israel Cycling Academy and SNC will collaborate to connect the athletes to the innovators and entrepreneurs that will be able to make a material impact on their performance. Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team will connect with relevant Israeli start-ups with the goal of: enhancing the performance of the Israeli cycling team; accelerating research and development of sports innovations in general and for cycling in particular and bringing these innovations to the attention of a global audience; and expanding the reach of relevant innovations arising from this collaboration, specifically in health, wellness, fitness, sleep improvement, physical rehabilitation, mental conditioning, nutrition, water management, Augmented Reality, new materials, and safety technologies, beyond the sporting world.

Start-Up Nation Central builds bridges to Israeli innovation, connecting business, government, and NGO leaders from around the world to the Israeli tech ecosystem through highly customized business engagements and the Start-Up Nation Finder–an easy to use, up-to-date, free online platform for discovering and connecting with thousands of relevant innovators.

Start-Up Nation Central identifies technological sectors with high growth potential and helps them develop to maturity. Currently focused on the Digital Health, AgriFoodtech and Industry 4.0 sectors, the organization exposes them to global audiences, helping them develop practical tools, attracting investors, and establishing and nurturing tech communities to increase collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and skill expansion.