- The 2017 Giro d’Italia is set hold its first three stages in Israel
- The exact details of the first three stages are set to be revealed next week
- Jerusalem is expected to become the 12th non-Italian host for the opening stage
The Giro d’Italia will become the first grand tour to leave Europe after organisers confirmed the race will begin in Israel.
The first stage is expected to depart from Jerusalem, with race organisers, RCS, to unveil the exact route of the three-day leg in Israel next week. Italian and Israeli ministers will make the announcement, along with retiring former winner Alberto Contador.
RCS has previously organised 11 Giro starts outside Italy, as far afield as Belfast and Herning in Denmark, but never has the Italian tour or any grand tour gone outside of Europe.
The Giro d’Italia will become the first grand tour to leave Europe the 2017 race to start in Israel
‘This is a hugely exciting moment for cycling and for Israel. An event of this magnitude is something that the country will always remember,’ said Daniel Benaim, CEO and owner of Comtec Group, the Giro’s Israeli production company.
A delegation from the Giro d’Italia is currently in the country, scoping out locations for the race.
Although Israeel is geographically is not part of Europe, the UCI classify it as a European country and it features in the UCI Europe Tour rankings.
Race organisers, RCS, are set to unveil the exact route of the three-day leg in Israel next week
Logistically holding the first three days in Israel means the Giro caravan will face a six-hour flight to the south of Italy. An extra travel rest day on the first Monday of the race following the opening stage on Friday is expected to help smooth the transition.
Viewed by hundreds of millions across the globe, the Giro is considered cycling’s second only to the Tour de France in terms of its status in the cycling calendar and will be the biggest sporting event ever held in Israel.
More than 175 of the world’s best cyclists will arrive in Israel for the race, one cycling’s top three stage races along with the Tour and La Vuelta.