The Giro d’Italia is the Italian counterpart to the Tour de France, and is one of the biggest races in cycling. Consisting of 21 individual stages held over a three-week period, the Giro attracts viewers in the hundreds of millions worldwide (not a typo, it’s really that big!). In May 2018, it’s coming to Israel. Well, actually, it comes to Palestine too, against the “backdrop of Jerusalem’s Old City”, but don’t get excited: Since Israel illegally annexed the Palestinian side of Jerusalem, this is still being sold exclusively as an Israeli thing. Now you might ask why a race literally called the “Tour of Italy” is taking place across the Mediterranean. Well, you can thank the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, which has reportedly fronted €12million for the event, a third of which will go directly to race organizer RCS Sport for the hosting rights. To be sure, it is not unprecedented for these types of tours to kick off with a ceremonial start outside their respective host nations. The logistical challenge of putting athletes, staff, officials, and the media, along with some 2,500 accredited vehicles, on a flight from Eilat back to Italy might be unique, but participating in erasing the occupation is the real first for a Grand Tour.

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