With their official appearance in the Tour de France, the Israeli cycling team, Start Up Nation, received an automatic bid to compete in the 2020 UAE tour. The tour began on Sunday, and is the Middle East’s largest cycling event, and the only one in the region as part of the World Tour. It kicks off in Abu Dhabi, and the 148-kilometer route travels through the desert and streets of the seven emirates. There is also one mountainous phase where riders will climb to the top of Jebel Hafeet mountain.
While the terrain remains mostly smooth, it proves a true honor for Israel to be included in the race amidst the best sprinters and climbers in the world. They will be competing against 19 other teams in this leg of the World Tour. The team was greeted warmly and given extra security throughout the event.
For the UAE, who does not recognize the state of Israel, the invitation was one of historic measures. For team owners Sylvan Adams and Ron Baron, they couldn’t be prouder of the rate that Start Up Nation Israel team is progressing. The feat is felt by everyone on the team. One team member Rudy Barbier, says “We are making history by racing here and it shows you that sports can break every barrier.”