The Giro d'Italia begins on Friday with a 9.7km time trial in Jerusalem but the logistical operation for the first ever Grand Tour start outside of Europe began on Monday with a Boeing 747 cargo plane transporting equipment and the 22 teams' bikes from Italy to Israel.
A first wave of staff is also travelling to Israel today before the riders and the rest of the race caravan arrive on Tuesday evening.
All the equipment will also be flown the 2000km from Israel to Sicily next Sunday when the Giro d’Italia transfers from Israel to Catania for the remaining stages in Italy. The riders and race caravan will travel to Sicily on four charter flights on Monday ready for when the Giro d'Italia starts again on Tuesday with stage 4 to Caltagirone.
Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport has been planning the complex logistical operation for months, liaising with teams at regular intervals. Fortunately the growing number of races held outside Europe mean teams are used to flying long distances to races and operating without their usual infrastructure. The teams have reportedly been paid bigger race fees to cover their own extra expenses for the Israel Grande Partenza.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, each team will take a tonne of bikes and equipment to Israel, with space for a total of 880 bikes and 2700 wheels. Each of the 175 riders rider will probably have up to five bikes (three roads bikes and two time trial bikes). Teams will also transport the mechanics’ tools and equipment, massage tables, extra clothing, food and drinks for race, spare parts and even turbo trainers so riders can warm-up for Friday’s time trial.
Everything else has been sourced in Israel, with RCS Sport’s usual race equipment and each team’s buses and cars greeting the race in Catania. Teams will be provided with a truck for the mechanics, a minibus for the riders, a truck for equipment and four team cars in Israel.
Team equipment will take up half of the 134-tonne capacity of the Boeing 747 cargo plane. The rest will be filled with RCS Sport's needs and other equipment.
Strict security means that all the equipment will be x-rayed before being loaded on pallets and the aircraft containers. Teams are not allowed to transport liquids, including chain oils, soap to wash bikes, or the adhesive needed to glue tubular tyres to wheels. That is why each team will transport such a high number of wheels.