Team: Israel Premier Tech

Age: 19

Hometown: Newbury Park, California

How did you get into cycling?

During middle school, I had a friend that rode mountain bikes for fun, and he told me to try it out. After my first experience riding the local trails and experiencing the outdoors with a new viewpoint, I was hooked. I later joined the high school mountain bike team, which really fueled my growing passion for the sport. Pushing my own limits while riding a bike and seeing the true capabilities of my body is what inspires me the most about riding bikes. Nothing in life has challenged me to the extent at which cycling does. I find the challenge and constant chase for improvement as the inspiration behind cycling for me. Simply, the views and destinations that cycling takes me is what keeps me coming back. When riding your bike, you get to see things in nature that you would never see otherwise. 

What were one or two of the key points in your cycling career before joining Israel Cycling Academy? How do you describe the team’s goals and dynamic? 

For me, the best moments before joining the Academy were winning the Jr. National TT Championship title and winning the TT at Ronde Des Valles. After Ronde Des Valles, Israel Cycling Academy showed interest and Roy Knickman was formative in the introduction. Israel Cycling Academy’s goals are aligned with the best development teams in the world. The aim is to develop the riders to learn how to race at the highest level and prepare us for the WorldTour. 

In your experience, what stands out most between racing and training in Europe versus the U.S.?

Racing in Europe is completely different than racing in the United States. The races are more aggressive, longer and have more dynamic courses. In the U.S., the courses tend to be shorter and much less dynamic. Training in Europe and training in the U.S. are more or less the same. Although, I have found drivers in some countries in Europe much more patient than those here in America. The markets in Europe are a bit scarcer than the larger supermarkets here in America, so sometimes it can be hard to find what you need, but generally everything is there. I spend around nine months in Europe per year. I live in Girona, Spain, and I enjoy my time there because it is like a little sliver of home. It doesn’t bother me to be away from home so much. I like the adventure and the life I live in Europe. 

Any advice for a junior racer? Where did you learn the basics of bike racing? 

My advice to a young racer is to find a mentor who has experience racing bikes and soak up as much knowledge from them as possible. Moreover, there is no better school than an actual race, so race as much as you can, because I promise that after every race you will come away with more experience and a better feel for how to race. I am still learning every time I race and feel that I am a better racer after every time I line up. I didn’t start really racing bikes properly until my last year as a junior with LUX. Here, under the guidance of Roy Knickman, and my more experienced teammates, I really got an understanding of how to race my bike. Without the experiences that LUX gave me, I am certain I would not be in the same situation today. 

What are your goals for the 2023 season?

For 2023 I would really like to win some of the biggest U23 races. After racing some of the bigger events this season, I will have a better understanding of how the races flow and of what the courses are like. I am most looking forward to U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, U23 Paris-Roubaix and the U23 Giro d’Italia. I look forward to every race that I start; however, these are the races that I want to win the most. I think of myself as an all-arounder, and these races all have very dynamic courses where I could see myself crossing the line with my hands in the air.

What are the best places for people to follow you online? 

The best place for people to follow me is my Instagram: @cole.kessler or my YouTube Channel: Cole Kessler.

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