(photo credit: Yossi Sharm)
Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador spoke of his excitement of
being in Israel and of his hopes for 2012 as Team Saxo Bank owned by former Tour
winner Bjarne Riis began its annual team building camp in the western Galilee on
One of the leading teams in the world of cycling decided to
start its preparations for 2012 in Israel, aiming to gel its new staff and build
a strong team spirit through participation in several bike rides and charity
initiatives until it ends its stay on December 11.
The team building camp
will be centered around two themes, charity work that benefits children and
globalizing and promoting cycling.
This work will be carried out in
cooperation with Israeli philanthropist Raya Strauss and the Shimon Peres Center
The 28-year-old Contador, who won the Tour in 2007, 2009 and
2010, is the undoubted star of the team and is looking forward to a fruitful
stay in Israel.
“I’m very proud to be in Israel and I’m looking forward
to seeing the country and learning more about a new culture,” he said in Ma’alot
A special ride to help promote the western Galilee will
take place on Saturday, with Team Saxo Bank to also help launch a cycling school
in Acre before taking part in a ride through Jerusalem’s Old City next
“My main goal for the coming year is certainly the Tour de
France,” said Contador, who faces a nervous wait until January before he
discovers the outcome of his Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing held last
week to decide whether he will receive a racing ban for testing positive for
traces of clenbuterol en route to winning the 2010 Tour de France.
will be tough for me to take part in the Giro d’Italia, but maybe I will be able
to participate in the Vuelta a España,” added Contador, who is also looking
forward to racing in the London Olympics.
“I think we have put together a
very different and very interesting program in cooperation with Raya Strauss and
The Shimon Peres Center for Peace,” team owner Riis said.
this is a great way of building our team and giving everyone onboard a lifetime
At the same time we hope to showcase that cycling offers a
lot of qualities, when it comes to helping others.”