Guy Niv first Israeli to complete Tour de France

Finishing the race is what the team hoped for entering the three-week competition.

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

The Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team, also known as the Israel Cycling Academy, just witnessed a historic day for the Jewish state.

Guy Niv became the first Israeli in the nation’s history to complete the Tour de France, a 21-day long competition throughout France. The intense race is known to be one of the most physically and mentally challenging events in the world.

While Niv finished 139th out of 146 cyclists who completed the event, the mere accomplishment of finishing the race is what the team hoped for entering the three-week competition. His best stage finish was 65th in stage 19.

“I felt shivers when I crossed the finish line on the Champs-Élysées [in Paris],” Niv said in a post-race press release. “It was a sense of vast relief and sheer happiness: I have done it for the next generation of young Israeli cyclists. They can now dream of achieving this and more.”

Niv, a 26-year-old, placed first last year in the Israel National Road Championships time trials.

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Hugo Hofstetter fourth in stage five for Israel Start-Up nation. Dan Martin also competed for the team with Krists Neilands and Ben Hermans. André Greipel competed as a sprinter with Hofstetter, with each of them earning a handful of top-10 results.

Israel Start-Up Nation was created in late 2014 by Ron Baron and Ran Margaliot, officially starting the Israel Cycling Academy at the start of 2015. The goal, since the start, was to field an effort in the Tour de France. The team now has 30 cyclists on its world tour team.

The team is largely funded by Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli billionaire. Adams is also investing in Formula 1 by helping Roy Nissany launch his career at Williams Racing.