Israel has invested about 12 million Euros in the starting of the next Italian round, whose first three stages will be played in Israel.
The 2018 Giro will begin in Jerusalem.
Guy Sagiv, who is not only Israel’s time trial champion and star in David’s jersey, is also a sergeant in the country’s army, competed last October at the Qatar World Cup, which not only prohibits the entry of every Israeli citizen, also closes its doors to any foreigner who has visited Jerusalem or Tel Aviv in recent years. It was a significant exception in relations in the Middle East; a further demonstration of the power of sport as a political agent; and one of the examples that the director of Sayev in the equipment Israel Cycling Academy, Ran Margaliot, used to convince of the project to the government of his country. «I knew that cycling, sport, unites like nothing else. That is the best way to break many prejudices and that people visit our land, “explains Margaliot to THE WORLD before his dream comes true: the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem is presented on Monday the Giro 2018 with departure and three stages in Israel. From the 4th to the 6th of May, an individual time trial in the city and two flat days between the Negev desert and Tel Aviv will serve to start the 101st Corsa Rosa and, at the same time, to incorporate the country in the race to organize events. Like its hated emirates years ago, Israel has been convinced to open itself to the world through the sport. If this year already hosted the Eurobasket and tried to host Euro 2020, next year with the Giro, with an investment of 12 million, according to local media, will give in to that eagerness. “People know Israel about the news, about Gaza, about the settlements, but we want to show that we live well here and that we can spend some very pleasant days,” proclaims Margaliot, who tried to be the first Israeli to play a great turn – in Saunier or the Saxo Bank of Contador -, and ended up resigning in 2012 to set up his own team and another to fulfill that ambition. If for him, as well as for his Government, it makes sense to be shown in an international way precisely with the Giro is by a man: Gino Bartali. “He’s a national hero,” he says. His role in World War II, transporting fake passports through Italy to save some 800 Jews, earned him the title of Righteous Among Nations by Israel and a corner in the Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial. The Israel Cycling Academy team paid tribute to him in April traveling the 195 kilometers between Florence and Assisi that formed his training route, the presentation will be his family and in the next departure the Giro reserves a tribute. Before that, we will have to overcome two problems: logistics and security. Of the first, they say, “do not worry”. Although it has never done so outside Europe – not even any other big one -, the Giro already has begun 10 times outside Italy and the protocol of the organizer RCS Sport is proven. The race will start on a Friday and on the fourth day, on a Monday, it will return to Italy: three charter planes will displace cyclists and staff; a cargo plane, to bicycles and parts; and two boats, to cars and the rest of the material. Safety is another matter. The Israeli Government has promised “the greatest display of history”, but tension in the area is always present. “Organizing a race here now is no more dangerous than doing it in Brussels, Paris, London or Madrid. We are prepared, “said Margaliot, with his plan ready. If the sport got Guy Sagiv, an Israeli soldier, will stroll through Doha, can improve the image of the country in three stages.