Giro d’Italia, the world’s second largest bike race after the Tour de France, will commence its 101st race in Jerusalem next year, marking the first time it has started outside of Europe. The bike race, which will see 176 of the world’s top rated riders cycle around 3,500km, will be broadcast globally and is expected to attract thousands of tourists to the country.

Israel will host the first three stages of next year’s race, starting with a 10.1km route in Jerusalem on May 4th; followed by a 167km route from Haifa, through Acre and Caesarea to Tel Aviv on May 5; and a 226km ride from Beersheba through Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat on May 6. The race will finish on May 27 at the Vatican in Rome. This year’s race will honor Italian cycling champion Gino Baralia, who helped save hundreds of Italian Jewish people during the Holocaust.

A recent press conference took place at the Waldorf Astoria, Jerusalem to mark the official launch of next year’s Giro d’Italia. In attendance was former professional Spanish cyclist, Alberto Contador; Italian Minister for Sport, Luca Lotti; Managing Director of RCS Sport, Paolo Bellino; Israel Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin; Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat; and Montreal real estate mogul, Sylvan Adams, who was involved in efforts to bring the race to Israel.

Pictured: Participants at the press conference

Image credit: Gilat Adin