In a historic moment for Israeli sports, the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia bike race is scheduled to begin May 4 with a 10-kilometer individual time trial in Jerusalem kicking off the “Big Start,” three stages traversing Israel.
This marks the first time a Grand Tour has ever left Europe. The Big Start will see 176 of the world’s top cyclists begin the competition against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s Old City. Over the following two days, the athletes will ride from the north of Israel southward to the tip of the Red Sea.
Giro d’Italia, a 21-stage three-week race organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, covers approximately 3,500 kilometers and is watched by hundreds of millions of viewers in 194 countries.
Participating cyclists — including current Tour de France champion Chris Froome from Great Britain — will finish the race in Rome, Italy, on May 27.
Among the 22 teams competing is Israel’s first-ever professional biking team, Israel Cycling Academy, whose riders hail from 16 countries on five continents.
“Israel Cycling Academy earned this selection with our excellent team, including seasoned riders who have secured victories in two of the three Grand Tours,” stated the team’s co-owner Sylvan Adams, honorary president of Giro’s Big Start in Israel.
Israeli road champion Roy Goldstein said, “No Israeli rider has ever competed in a Grand Tour, so for us it’s really an unbelievable dream come true. It’s our chance to step up and stand on the biggest stage in the cycling world and to scream, ‘We are on the map and we will stay on the map!’”
The jerseys of the Israel team will feature the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation logo of a flying dove carrying an olive branch.
“This year’s Giro will exemplify brotherhood between cultures and religions, expressing peace and coexistence through the universal language of sportsmanship,” said Adams.