Gallery: From the cols to the cobbles – Israel Start-Up Nation prepares for racing

While all the hype and attention may have centered around Chris Froome’s move to Israel Start-Up Nation in recent weeks, it’s been business as usual for his future teammates.

The Israeli squad is gearing up for its return to racing in its first year in the WorldTour, with stage racers gathering at a training camp in the thin air of Andorra and the classics unit heading to the cobbles of northern Belgium and France to recon key sectors of this fall’s classics.

This year will be the team’s first-ever trip to the Tour de France, where it hopes to fulfill its ambition of sending the first-ever Israeli rider to the historic race. One likely candidate for the accolade is Guy Niv, who had to be especially “released” from Israel, a country on high coronavirus alert, to travel to Europe. The 26-year-old managed to enter Andorra after the Spanish government granted him a visa having put himself under quarantine for several weeks beforehand.

Niv, along with his potential Tour teammates including Dan Martin, Dani Navarro, Alex Dowsett, James Piccoli,  and Ben Hermans have all been a part of the two-week altitude camp, set to wrap up in the middle of next week.

Meanwhile, the classics squad, headed by veteran fastman André Greipel and Paris-Roubaix runner-up Nils Politt, have based themselves near Oudenaard as they take an early look at sections of Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix.

Andorra Photos: Noa Arnon

Cobbles photos: Kramon