Guy Niv becomes first Israeli to complete all 21 stages of Tour de France

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Niv is part of the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team, Israel’s first professional cycling squad who also made their debut in the Tour this year.

Guy Niv (photo credit: NOA ARNON)

Guy Niv

(photo credit: NOA ARNON)

Guy Niv became the first Israeli to complete all 21 stages of the Tour de France on Monday, finishing the race in 139th with a time of 92h 54m 48s.

Niv is part of the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team, Israel’s first professional cycling squad who also made their debut in the Tour this year.

Niv joined the team three years ago, switching to road racing after focusing primarily on mountain-biking for most of his life. This year he rode in and finished the Tour de France.

“I felt shivers when I crossed the finish line on the Champs-Elysees. 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 said, admitting the race was far from a “walk in the park.”

“I had to dig deep inside at times,” he added.

Niv recounted one of those times, noting stage 17 when he began the climb up to Meribel – marking the second climb of the day.

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“I suddenly felt empty. Like when your fuel tank is suddenly drained. My BPM was rocketing but my power was dipping. I had nothing. But I said to myself that I just couldn’t give up and I finally made it,” Niv said. “In retrospect, we discovered that I had not eaten enough after the first climb.”

According to a statement, both his teammates and ISN directors were pleasantly “surprised” at the ease in which he tackled his first ever Tour.

“Guy impressed us all, said the team’s sports director Eric Van Lancker. “He knew that the whole country – Israel – was looking up to him, and he dealt with that pressure admirably. We are proud of him.”

“He is such a brave kid,” said team owner Sylvan Adams. “He faced the country’s and the team’s expectations and never blundered. As a team, we were in the game in almost every stage, and although we did not get the coveted stage win, ISN finished with 7 top 10s and we were part of many breakaways.

“I can promise you that we will be back next year with a strengthened team which will be led by the greatest cyclist of the generation – Chris Froome. We are just getting started,” Adams added.

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ISN signed four-time Tour de France winner and Britain’s most decorated road cyclist Chris Froome to their roster early in July. The team hopes Froome will lead Niv and the rest of the up-and-coming team in the near future, more notably at the 2021 Tour de France.

“I dreamed about racing in the Tour as a kid. I even witnessed it as a spectator on the side of the road. Now, I hope that this dream will be shared by many Israeli kids who will follow my footsteps and surpass me,” Niv concluded.

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