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May 4, 2018 9:30 am

Famed Giro d’Italia Bike Race Kicks Off in Jerusalem

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View of the Israel Cycling Academy during presentation of the competing teams in the 101st Giro d’Italia in Jerusalem on May 3, 2018, ahead of the opening of the competition on May 4. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

JNS.org – In an inaugural event in Israel, the world’s best bike riders will compete in the famed Giro d’Italia cycling race in Jerusalem on May 4.

This is the first time that the 101-year-old Giro d’Italia is being held outside of Europe and is expected to be the biggest sporting event to take place in Israel, drawing tens of thousands of tourists.

Also for the first time, an Israeli delegation is joining the 22 teams of competitors. Over the six-mile route 176 cyclists will ride past the Old City of Jerusalem and other historic locations, including four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who is looking to become the third person to ever win three Grand Tour titles in a row.

Initially the Giro sparked protests for billing the event as taking place in “West Jerusalem,” but ultimately edited the name to “Jerusalem.”

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Palestinians and their allies have expressed their outrage over the event being held in Jerusalem, saying the Giro tried to “legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem,” and objected to promotional materials including pictures and videos of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem trials will be the first stage of the 21-day event, followed by a 104-mile ride along the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv.

Stage 3 will take competitors from the ancient city of Beersheva to the southernmost tip of the country along the Red Sea near Eilat.

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