Jan Bakelants no longer interested in 2018 Giro d'Italia if race starts in Israel
Aug 09 2017 01:27 pm CET

Jan Bakelants no longer interested in 2018 Giro d'Italia if race starts in Israel
Jan Bakelants no longer interested in 2018 Giro d'Italia if race starts in Israel
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JAN BAKELANTS
GIRO D'ITALIA

Belgian rider Jan Bakelants of AG2R La Mondiale says that he is no longer looking forward to the 2018 Giro d'Italia if the race starts in Israel.

Although organizer RCS Sport hasn't made it official yet, the Israel cycling federation and international media have reported in recent days that the Italian grand tour will indeed start with a time trial in Jerusalem, followed by two more regular stages.

"I was surprised that it is actually going to happen," Bakelants told Sporza. "There were rumours but in the past people also talked about having it start in New York or Japan."

The rider doesn't think that starting in Israel is a good idea and no longer looks forward to his participation. "Not really. I liked the thought of riding the Giro again but if it's in Israel, I'm not that interested anymore. I'm sure it's a beautiful country but not suitable for cycling. So in advance I say that I'd rather not go."

The logistics may well cause significant troubles for the teams, Bakelants added. "Those may be the small things you wouldn't even think about. For example, teams can't bring their own cars so the organizer will have to provide a lot of material.

"In addition it will be very warm those three days so we will need bottles, cooling boxes, ice... In the end it's the problem of the organization but as a team you are out of your element. You don't have your material and can't apply your normal ways of operating."

Bakelants went on to criticize the organization for failing to involve the riders and teams in such decisions.

"It has been bothering me for a while that no team or rider is consulted. Does the peloton even want to travel that far?

"There is an agreement with the Israeli government or the city of Jerusalem. They put money on the table to get the start. But the actors, those that have to deliver the spectacle, haven't been asked anything.

"The organization of the Giro will never unveil the amount of money they get for this stunt, but I'm sure it's enormous."
Photo of Jan Bakelants by CyclingPub / Mary Cardenas





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