Public and race organisers hail historic opening two days
TEL AVIV, 5 MAY 2018 – The Israeli public, plus race organisers have welcomed the success of the opening two days of the Giro d’Italia’s ‘Big Start’ in Israel. The first day on Friday saw a 9.7km Individual Time Trial in Jerusalem, while on the second day the 176 competitors covered 167km from Haifa to Tel Aviv.
Honorary President of ‘Big Start’ Israel Sylvan Adams said it went “flawlessly,” adding “I was filled with pride as I saw my countrymen, women and children line the streets to cheer for the racers, especially those from the home team, Israel Cycling Academy. The TV images of magnificent Israel were breathtaking. The Italian organizers, RCS, were simply in awe of how well it went, including the enormously positive media coverage around the world.”
Many thousands of Israelis lined the ancient streets of Jerusalem on Friday as the riders set off individually near the iconic Jaffa Gate, passing landmarks including the Knesset (parliament) and Supreme Court. The biggest cheers were reserved for local riders Guy Niv and Guy Sagiv, who made history as the first Israelis to compete in a Grand Tour, on behalf of Israel Cycling Academy.
Sagiv commented, “I felt the ground tremble when I started… It was an experience I’ve never had before. I started and all the crowd was cheering for me along the whole course.”
Niv added, “Any time I had pain or fatigue in my legs, I just looked to the sides and felt the crowd pushing for me and cheering for me and suddenly I could push harder. It was an amazing experience.”
The crowd was treated to an exciting spectacle, with current Giro holder, Dutch star Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb, taking the first stage with the final ride of the day. His time of 12:02 was two seconds faster than Rohan Dennis of BMC Racing.