(JNS.org) In a historic first, the prestigious Giro d’Italia race, one of cycling’s top events, will open in Israel next year.
The Giro, which began in 1909, has previously opened only 11 times outside Italy and has never opened outside Europe. The race is viewed as one of the top cycling events, known as the Grand Tour, along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
More than 175 of the world’s top cyclists are expected to arrive in Israel for the event, which is likely to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Israel, drawing tens of thousands of tourists and cycling enthusiasts.
"This is a hugely exciting moment for cycling and for Israel," said Daniel Benaim, CEO and owner of Comtec Group, the Giro's Israeli production company, the Associated Press reported. "An event of this magnitude is something that the country will always remember."
A delegation from the Giro d’Italia is currently in Israel finalizing locations for the opening stages. Organizers are expected to announce the precise route next week at a ceremony attended by Italian and Israeli officials along with retired Spanish cyclist and two-time Giro winner Alberto Contador.