After jumping up to WorldTour by merging with Katusha, Israel Cycling Academy added Canadian climbing ace James Piccoli to its roster for 2020. Winner of last season’s Tour de Beauce and this year’s Tour of the Gila, Piccoli moves up from American Continental outfit Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling after two and a half seasons.
— Israel Start-Up Nation / Israel Cycling Academy (@YallaIsraelSUN) October 4, 2019
In a press release on Facebook, Piccoli talked about his “dream season”, which included coming runner-up to ICA’s Ben Hermans in the Tour of Utah after earning a stage victory: “I had a lot of teams interested in signing me, but I chose ICA because of their belief in me and the amazing staff that they have. They really believe that I can be a great rider one day, and offered me an environment where I can adjust to European racing while helping the team out as best I can.”
Piccoli knows his role for the most part will be to work for Dan Martin and Hermans: “I’m a climber/GC rider so I will probably be the last guy to help Dan and Ben in the hard races, and I’ll also look to take my shot at the win in target races when I can.”
This year the 28-year-old Montréal native had two Canadian teammates of Elevate-KHS, Jordan Cheyne and Adam Roberge. Although there were three Canucks on ICA this season, the chances of there being four in 2020 with the merger are slim, even though team co-owner Sylvan Adams is Canadian. Ben Perry is searching for a team.
Still hunting down a team for 2020. I had a great year with a 2.1 Stage win, GC podium, and stage podium. After so much progression I am not ready for this cycling adventure to end. Please reach out with any contacts, or if you are interested.
— Benjamin Perry (@benjefperry) October 4, 2019
Piccoli was on Team Canada for the men’s road race at Yorkshire 2019, but he wasn’t among the 46 riders who finished the race in nasty conditions.