While the world learned the news of the widespread assault on Israel by Hamas over the weekend, the riders of the Israel-Premier Tech team have been trying to process the horrifying events while focussing on the races.
The news of the coordinated attacks from the Palestinian resistance/terrorist group that killed at least 1,000 and wounded more than 2,800 overshadowed the stunning victory by American Riley Sheehan at Paris-Tours. Amid the tragedy, the team “largely suspended” their social media activity. On Tuesday, the team shared the reaction from riders.
Nadav Raisberg, who is graduating from the Israel-Premier Tech development squad to the WorldTour team next year, was on the Paris-Tours roster and learned of the events less than a day before the race.
“The first thought was that I couldn’t race,” Raisberg said. “How can one even think about a bicycle race when I am receiving messages about friends fighting there to put an end to this unspeakable slaughter? But after a heart-to-heart with my family, I resolved that breaking down was not an option.
“In the end, we clinched victory with the remarkable Riley Sheehan, and my teammates rejoiced rightfully, it was a tremendous achievement. But I couldn’t join in; I couldn’t celebrate with them.”
Israel national champion Itamar Einhorn was at the Tour of Hainan when he learned of the unfolding events. He sprinted to second place on the final stage, and his teammate Sebastian Berwick came second overall to Oscar Sevilla, but Einhorn also couldn’t celebrate as he was tormented by the news.
“I’ve never felt like this before,” Einhorn said. “Of course, I wanted to win. But I didn’t feel anything. There was neither the sting of missing the victory nor a trace of satisfaction from finishing second. The utter sense of triviality weighed heavily on me, knowing that while I raced thousands of kilometres away, my homeland was engulfed in a horrific act of terror and slaughter.
“You’re in a race. You’re supposed to disconnect from everything, but how is it possible? It’s a storm of emotions that you don’t want to, nor can you, escape. I am shattered, but the images from one of the videos that turned my stomach keep haunting me: two children whose parents were murdered before their eyes, and the terrorists leaving a red smear on the walls declaring ‘we don’t kill children’ – while in other houses they executed bound children.
“And I keep riding, tears overwhelming me. I wonder how this can happen, how much evil and…