In 2015, the Israel team appeared in cycling with the ambition and hope of gaining a place among the best on the planet. In 2020 the great moment came, making the leap to the World Tour, a category in which they were for three seasons. In 2023, after the UCI promotion and relegation system, they lost this place and became a ProTeams team, and that will be the case during this three-year period. As for his staff, it is practically not something that has affected, since they continue to have illustrious names among their brokers: Chris Froome, Jakob Fuglsang, Michael Woods, Dylan Teuns… a mix between veterans and youngsters. In the Mallorca Challenge, the squad has a fair squad focused mainly on looking for leaks and the foreseeable sprint on Sunday at the Palma Trophy. In front is Óscar Guerrero, sports director of an entire team of which he is already a veteran, Well, it came in 2017.
“For this season, at the level of structure and others, Nothing has changed in the team. Only one paper says that we are not World Tour, but we do consider ourselves because we believe that we have the capacity for it “Guerrero tells AS during the Balearic event. “We have obtained all the invitations we wanted so far and we will be in the main races, such as the Giro and the Tour. La Vuelta is missing, which will be difficult, because there are only two invitations and four Spanish ProTeams teams”, he highlights. For now, in the Challenge, they have not been seen in the top positions of the classifications after the three tests disputed: “We have come with a fair team for the different commitments: Australia, Argentina, injureds… and the level of the Challenge this year is very strong. You have to come with almost everything to get good results. We look for leaks and fight in the Palma sprint”, reveals the Basque about the team’s plan these days in the Balearic Islands.
Despite being demoted, the team shows high ambition and has a challenge: to finish first (or second) this campaign in the ProTeams categoryin order to ensure presence in numerous races without the need for invitations for 2024: “We have that challenge and thus be able to have guaranteed places. We have seen in other teams that not being World Tour has its pros and cons in some cases. In the past, Alpecin and Cerveló withdrew from the Giro because they believed that their riders could do better on another calendar.. Since it is not an obligation, you have the right to choose, because sometimes you have to go to a race suffering from injuries, falls…”explains about the new situation of the team.
“In La Vuelta, in 2020 we finished fourth overall (Dan Martin) and with a stage win. Just because of the history of the test and the route we would like to be there, but we will understand any decision on the invitations. If we win the ranking this year, we secure the place for 2024″, Guerrero recounts. In the team they would “understand” if the two places go to Spanish teams. It should be remembered that this will be, almost certainly, the last year to be able to invite the team that the organizer wants without any requirement. In 2024 it is probable that those chosen must be within a certain ranking.
And the veteran team tag? Israel intends to put an end to it: “We have rejuvenated the team a lot this season, with four guys who have moved up to the main team and another youngster who has joined. We are looking for that balance. Veteran people were more to obtain results immediately ”, recounts the sports director about the team’s transfer policy. And Froome? At 37, the winner of four Tour de France is reluctant to throw in the towel: “He is putting everything he has in his hands. We see that he trains, he takes care of himself… he remains convinced that he will return to what he was. We have to support him and wait”, concludes an Óscar Guerrero who this season will accompany the team in the Giro d’Italia, among other events. A new era, perhaps without so much variety compared to the previous one, for Israel.