Sep Vanmarcke joins Israel Start-Up Nation as Travis McCabe retires

Travis McCabe fulfilled career-long dream of racing in WorldTour only to have season coincide with coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Photo: Rebecca Reza

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Sep Vanmarcke will join the Israel Start-Up Nation team in 2021, while American Travis McCabe decides to retire at the end of the season, team officials confirmed.

McCabe posted a photograph on his Instagram account ahead of Wednesday’s Brugge-De Panne, saying, “Last race of the year, and career …”

Long a presence on the U.S. racing scene, McCabe fulfilled a career-long dream in 2020 by making the leap to the WorldTour in 2020 with a one-year contract with Israel Start-Up Nation. Unfortunately, that season coincided with the coronavirus pandemic. McCabe raced a handful of European WorldTour races this season, including the Ronde van Vlaanderen last week.

“Travis, 31, has decided to put an end to not only his European adventure but also his active career. After many years on the American domestic circuit, he moved up to the WorldTour with ISN, unfortunately in a COVID-dominated year,” a team statement read. “Good luck, Travis, on your new journey.”

Israel Start-Up Nation is undergoing major changes heading into its second WorldTour season. The arrival of four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome in a high-profile transfer sees the team changing its focus faster than it was planning into a grand tour-level team. As a result, the team is signing several experienced veterans to bolster the team’s lineup, including the arrival next season of Michael Woods, Daryl Impey, Alessandro De Marchi, Patrick Bevin, and Carl Fredrik Hagen, among others.

Another big name coming across is Belgian classics favorite Vanmarcke, who helps fill the void left by the exiting Nils Politt, who joins Bora-Hansgrohe in 2021.

“My main objective is to win the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix in the next few years,” Vanmarcke said. “I see how the team is growing. In only a few years, it went from being a small team to a WorldTour team. Now that it has reached that level, it aims higher. And I do, too.”

Israel Start-Up Nation team manager Kjell Carlström is “delighted” to have Vanmarcke on the team, adding, “He has a lot of experience. He has proven that he is a great classics rider but can also support a leader in a grand tour. And he also does well in time trials, so it is a perfect package.”

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