JERUSALEM CYCLE RACE START
Political rumpus threatens Giro start
Rome — The race for the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey risks being overshadowed by a political rumpus over the 2018 edition’s departure from Jerusalem, with Israeli protests and US diplomatic policy threatening carnage.
The cycling Grand Tour has run into difficulty long before it starts on May 4, first by labelling the city "west Jerusalem" rather than Jerusalem, due to conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims over the Holy Land.
And US President Donald Trump’s recognition on Wednesday of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has provoked a torrent of protest.
Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni said in September the first three days of the 101st edition would be a time trial in Jerusalem followed by two sprint stages ending in Tel Aviv and Eilat, before the race returns to Italy for the final 18 stages.
It will be the first time any of cycling’s three Grand Tours start outside Europe and fans were thrilled. Many also saw it as a homage to Italy’s Gino Bartoli, a much-loved triple Giro winner who was recognised in 2013 as "Righteous Among the Nations" — someone who helped shield Jews from the Nazis in the Second World War.