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Unrest in Israel could see Giro d'Italia start moved

Joe Robinson
12 Dec 2017

With tensions surrounding Jerusalem increasing, Giro organisers could be forced into a contingency plan

With tensions again on the rise in the contested city of Jerusalem, due to controversial actions of US President Donald Trump, Giro d'Italia organisers could be forced into moving the start of the 2018 Giro d'Italia back to Italy.

Increased civil unrest and the heightened likelihood of violence within Jerusalem would make hosting a sporting event within the streets of the city nigh on impossible.

If the violence of the past week was to continue and even worsen ahead of next May, RCS, race organisers of the Giro, would have no choice but to move the start of the race.

Reports in Italian press suggest that RCS already had a 'Plan B' in place but have since moved along in their preparations with an alternative due to recent events.

Race director Mauro Vegni has previously told Italian newspaper Gazzatta dello Sport that he 'already has a plan B, all-Italian, but it will have to truly be a last-ditch scenario'.

It has been suggested that if the turmoil in Jerusalem continues, the Giro would move its grande partenza to the island of Sicily, effectively starting the race from Stage 4 in Catania.

The race would then cover its stage deficit by adding three stages on mainland Italy. Alternatively, the race may revisit Sardinia for the second year in a row.

The decision of President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has caused outrage within the region, sparking mass protests from the Palestinian population, who believe Trump to be legitimising an area that is recognised by the United Nations as 'occupied territory'.

The Palestinian authority sees East Jerusalem as the captial of a future state at the end of neogtiations with Israel.

Trump's decision has seen widespread criticism from fellow world leaders and has even seen Hamas and Hezbollah, Islamic fundamentalist groups, call for an uprising in the area.

Before the ill-advised actions of President Trump, critics had attacked the Giro's decision to visit Israel due to the on-going dispute surrounding Jerusalem with Palestine, with some calling for the boycott of the race.

Many have argued that by taking the Giro to Israel, the race was ignoring the political issues and legitimising Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, that has faced continued strong criticism regarding his human rights record.