The Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) are set to takeover the Katusha Alpecin set -up completely from 2020. The take-over has already been confirmed, and technically completed, though they are waiting for confirmation of their space in the 2020 World Tour.
The thinking behind this merge is an opportunity for the Israeli team to find a place in the World Tour. Katusha have also been struggling after title sponsors Canyon and Alpecin announced they would end their backing at the end of this season. It is thought that the Swiss team had a spot in the World Tour for at least another 2 years, an opportunity the ICA could not look past.
Talks were already underway about ICA being in the World Tour however, and this merge seems to be a “fast track” system to achieving their goals. Billionaire backer Sylvan Adams stated;
“I have stated for some time that ICA would be in the WorldTour, sooner or later, I am excited that it is happening right away for next year’s season.”
It will be interesting to see how the combination works, will the team be able to offer all current riders contracts? Unfortunately not. The UCI limits teams to a maximum size of 30 riders.
Riders who are already confirmed include; Dan Martin – who was already signed by the ICA back in August and will knock out one of the two teams riders as a result, 2019 Paris-Roubaix runner up Nils Politt and Tour of Utah 2019 winner Ben Hermans.
We know for sure Ilnur Zakarin and Nathan Haas will join new teams in 2020, signing for CCC and Cofidis respectively. Marcel Kittel has also announced he is retiring from the sport at the end of the 2019 season stating publicly;
“The sport and the world you live in are defined by pain, You don’t have time for family and friends, and then there’s the perpetual tiredness and routine. As a cyclist, you are on the road for 200 days of the year. I didn’t want to watch my son grow up via Skype.”We obviously understand the reasoning behind this move, but are sad to see the 14-time Tour de France Stage winner leave.