Tour of Israel added to 2019 UCI calendar

The success of this year's Giro d'Italia in Israel has sparked the creation of the Tour of Israel stage race in 2019, with the five-day event expected to be held in late April as final preparation for the Italian Grand Tour.

Cyclingnews understands the race has been registered with the UCI and included on the 2019 race calendar that will be revealed on Friday. Five potential stages have been designed in the north and south of Israel, with mountain stages and well as flat stages chosen to show off the country.

The 2018 Giro d'Italia started in Israel with three stages held in the country, including an opening time trial around the centre of Jerusalem. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) won the opening time trial and went on to finish second overall behind Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Sylvan Adams, the Canadian billionaire who backs the Israel Cycling Academy and helped secure the Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza in Israel, is also backing the Tour of Israel. He is keen to see an Israeli national Tour as a lasting legacy of the Giro d'Italia start there.

Time is tight to finalise all the details but there is a clear intention to hold the first edition of the Tour of Israel next spring. The Tour of Israel hopes to attract several WorldTour teams for the first edition of the race. Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport is expected to help organise the race after fighting off competition from French rival and Tour de France organiser ASO.

The UCI has welcomed the creation of the race despite a possible clash on the race calendar with the Tour of the Alps, the Tour of Croatia and the Ardennes Classics. Adams has also bankrolled a covered velodrome in Israel that could host future editions of the track World Cup and help develop Israel track riders.

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.