The 22 teams and 176 riders of the 2018 Giro d'Italia were given an enthusiastic welcome by the crowd at the presentation in Jerusalem's Safra Square on Thursday as the Italian Grand Tour prepares to start for the first time outside of Europe.
The 101st edition of the race begins with a 9.7km time trial in Jerusalem, followed by two mass-start stages before a rest day during which the riders and their gear will head to Sicily for stage 4.
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), is a favourite for the opening stage as the reigning time trial world champion and defending champion in the Giro d'Italia, but is up against a strong field and a twisting, technical, punchy course.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) greeted the fans as he rode onto the stage from the infinity symbol-shaped ramp. He also starts as a favourite after winning last year's Tour de France and Vuelta a España, but his bid to become only the third rider in history to simultaneously hold all three Grand Tour titles has been clouded by a too-high test for his asthma drug salbutamol last year. He stands to lose his results should he be found in violation of the anti-doping rules.
Friday's time trial starts at 13:50 local time, with Fabio Sabatini (Quick-Step Floors) the first rider off.
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