Three historic stages in Israel will kick-start the 2018 Giro d’Italia in what’s the first time a grand tour ventures beyond Europe.
The 101st Giro (May 4-27) will open with a time trial and two road stages in Israel that represent an important landmark in cycling history.
“This will be a very special edition of the Giro,” said Giro director Mauro Vegni. “Following its 100th edition this year, it’s a new starting point, not only for the Giro, but because it’s historic because it takes the Giro out of Europe for the first time.”
The “Big Start” will feature three stages in Israel. The first will be on Friday, May 4, with a 10.1km individual time trial in and around Jerusalem, ending along the walls of the old city. That’s followed by two stages well suited for the sprinters.
Stage 2 will be 167km from Haifa to Tel Aviv in northern Israel. The route will include the Giro’s first king of the mountains points at Zikron Yakov before a flatter run into the sprint in central Tel Aviv. The third stage runs 226km from Be’er Sheva to Eilat on the Red Sea.
After the Israeli stages, the Giro will transfer back to Italy with the race’s first of three rest days. Flight times are just over two hours. The remainder of the Giro route will be presented this fall.
It’s the 13th time the Giro starts outside Italy, but the first that a grand tour begins beyond the limits of Europe.
The opening three stage of Giro start was unveiled during a posh presentation in Jerusalem, with Giro and Israeli officials in attendance, as well as ex-pros Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso.
The Giro will also pay homage to Gino Bartali, the Italian champion who helped hundreds of Jews avoid persecution during World War II. Bartali’s name is engraved on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous in the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem.