Israel leg of prestigious cycling event faces cancellation

Tourism and Culture Ministers threaten cancellation of touted race, after its website declares course passes through 'West Jerusalem.'

Tal Polon ,


The leg of the prestigious Giro d’Italia bicycle race scheduled to take place in Israel starting in May 2018 is in danger of cancellation due to the event’s refusal to recognize the entirety of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Israel Hayom reported.

In September, Israeli and Italian officials announced that three stages of the prestigious Giro d’Italia cycling race would be held in the Israel, starting in Jerusalem.

The race would mark the first time that any leg of cycling’s Grand Tour races — the Giro, the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta - takes place outside of Europe, and just the 12th time the Giro had gone outside of Italy in its 101-year history.

Israeli officials touted the race as the biggest sporting event ever to be held in the country, and an opportunity to showcase the Jewish state - and its capital - to the world.

However, the race’s Israel leg now appears to be in danger of being cancelled, as organizers have declared on the race’s official website and Youtube channel that the race course passes through “West Jerusalem,” rather than simply “Jerusalem,” implying a refusal to recognize the entirety of the city as the capital of Israel.

According, to Israel Hayom, the Tourism and Culture Ministries understand the announcement as a capitulation to anti-Israel forces seeking to create a perception that eastern Jerusalem in not a part of the State of Israel.

In a letter to organizers of the Giro d’Italia, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Culture Minister Miri Regev made clear that “If the announcement on the Giro website defining the race’s starting point as ‘West Jerusalem’ is not changed, the government of Israel will not be a partner to it.”

They emphasized that “In Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, there not ‘East’ and ‘West.’ There is one united Jerusalem. These announcements violate the agreement with the Israeli government. If it is not changed, the government of Israel will not participate in the event.”