Israel closing in on Giro d’Italia deal

Israel is set to be confirmed as the destination for the ‘Big Start’ of the 2018 Giro d’Italia cycling race next month, according to the Cyclingnews website.

It was reported last month that Israel had secured hosting rights to the event, with Cyclingnews now stating that Giro organiser RCS Sport is expected to make an official announcement in Jerusalem on September 18.

The Giro, one of cycling’s three ‘Grand Tour’ events, will reportedly open next year with a time trial in the Old City of Jerusalem, with Tel Aviv and the south of Israel candidates to stage two more stages. Israel Cycling Academy founders are said to have worked on a deal with RCS for several years.

Cyclingnews said the Giro would represent the biggest security operation in Israel’s history, eclipsing the state funeral of Yitzhak Rabin and the 2014 visit by Pope Francis.

Speculation has been rife over plans for the hosting rights to the 2018 Big Start. In May of last year, Italian newspaper La Stampa said that Japan was in contention to host the opening stages of the 2018 event, with potential stages including a climb up Mount Fuji.

The Giro d’Italia has never before started outside Europe. Washington D.C. in the US was close to a deal to host the Big Start for the 2012 event, but was unable to finalise an agreement.

This year, the Giro d’Italia celebrated its 100th anniversary edition and RCS Sport marked the occasion by staging the Big Start on the Italian island of Sardinia. Tom Dumoulin (pictured) won the 2017 race and, in doing so, became the first Dutch cyclist to clinch victory in the Giro.

An Israeli start for the 2018 Giro would mark the 13th time the event has commenced outside Italy.