Tucson’s Matthew Riccitello was born to be a distance competitor. His father was a professional triathlete, and the twenty-one year-old took to cycling.

“I like getting out and seeing new places,” said Riccitello. “And, getting to exercise for a living is pretty cool.”

Success led to Riccitello racing for the U23 Junior USA Team in Europe where he caught the attention of the Israel-Premier Tech team.

“Israel Premier Tech had the best vision for my future.”

Premier Tech is the name of a Canadian company. Putting Israel in front of it stems from the idea of seeing an Israeli team at the start of the Tour de France.

There are three Israelis on the team. Riccitello, who is not Jewish, is the only American among the team’s 28 cyclists. The road races are in Europe, and he was in France during the October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

“I wish people didn’t have to resort to violence to solve their problems. My initial reaction was sadness.”

Israeli-Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams, an Israeli-Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, had to cancel a team bonding event in Israel. It would have been Riccitello’s first trip to the country.

Riccitello had a breakout 2023 season, and he has a goal to one day race in the Tour de France. Plans are still in place to race next year.

“In the United States, where people aren’t involved in the sport, they see Israel-Premier Tech and think it’s an Israeli team. But, in the cycling world, I think not much will change.”