The 2018 Giro d'Italia will start with three stages in Israel, including an opening time trial in the Old City of Jerusalem. Two more stages have not been finalised, but Tel Aviv and the south of Israel have been discussed as probable candidates to host stages.
Cyclingnews has learned that race owner RCS Sport is expected to make an official announcement September 18 in Jerusalem. Israel Cycling Academy founders have been working with RCS for several years to bring the race to Israel.
Cyclingnews contacted Cycling Academy General Manager Ran Margaliot this week at the Tour of Utah, but he declined to comment, referring questions to RCS Sport, which has also declined to confirm details of the 2018 Giro start.
Tuttobiciweb recently reported that the race will then travel to Sicily for another ascent of Mount Etna. The website reported that the route will travel up the Peninsula towards Veneto and an ascent of the Zoncolan.
The Israeli government will be responsible for all security and very likely a significant part of the total cost of hosting the Giro start. It would be the biggest security operation in the country's history, outpacing the state funeral of Yitzhak Rabin and the 2014 visit by Pope Francis.
The start in Jerusalem would be a big political coup for the country, which has been striving to paint a picture of 'normal' life in everyday Israel. The visit from the Giro would commemorate Israel's 70th birthday, with a possible finish in Rome signaling a message of peace to the world.
While Margaliot would not comment on the Giro start, he did say that Israel Cycling Academy plans to bolster its roster in the off-season with a host of new signings. The team would obviously like to be on the start line when the race rolls out of Jerusalem next year.
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