The first leg of the Giro d’Italia in Israel was a huge success.
It was the first time that a Grand Tour started outside Europe and the response of the Israeli public was extraordinary; beyond every expectation. The Giro was welcome with tremendous enthusiasm in every city it cycled through, starting on Friday in Jerusalem and arriving on Sunday in Eilat.
Equally the local athletes and the members of the Israel Cycling Academy distinguished themselves on many occasions (especially thanks to the performances of the Canadian cyclist Guillaume Boivin, who held the first position for many kilometers in two segments). As well, everyone from the first to the very last of the athletes, without distinction between team and nationality, was welcomed with applause and encouragement by Israelis on the streets.
Honorary President of the ‘Big Start’ Israel, Sylvan Adams, the main architect of this historic departure, stressed: “I was filled with pride as I saw my countrymen, women and children line the streets to cheer the racers, especially those from the home team, the Israel Cycling Academy. The TV images showing Israel from the helicopter were breathtaking. The Italian organizers, RCS, were simply in awe of how well it all went, including the enormously positive media coverage around the world.”
The enthusiasm is shared by the two Israeli cyclists running with the Academy, Guy Sagiv and Guy Niv.
Sagiv commented: “I felt the ground tremble when I started the race. It was an experience I’ve never had before. The crowd cheered for me along the whole course”.
Niv added: “Any time I felt pain or fatigue in my legs, I just looked to the sides of the road and felt the crowd pushing for me and cheering for me and suddenly I could push harder. It was an amazing experience.”