Israeli cyclists made history this week by taking part in a gruelling race across the United Arab Emirates, from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
Surprised locals asked for selfies with members of Israel’s only professional cycling team as they trained for the race at Al-Qudra Cycling Park.
The Israeli team includes one Israeli cyclist, Omer Goldstein, with the rest coming from countries including Austria, Germany, Spain and France. The UK’s Alex Dowsett is also riding in the Israeli team.
Sylvan Adams, the team’s Canadian-Israeli owner, said: “The participation in this race by our Israeli team in a Middle Eastern nation is emblematic of how cycling can be a force for diplomatic openness and progress. Sport can be a force for peace.”
Goldstein said: “Competing in the UAE in the team uniform is an inspiring moment. Until recently, it would have seemed like an unrealistic dream. In all honesty, I am still finding it hard to digest, but once I am on the start line, I will be fully focused on just one thing: helping the team win.”
The team will make history again in June when it becomes the first Israeli outfit to compete in the Tour de France – the world’s third most-watched sporting event after the Olympic Games and the football World Cup.