Giro d'Italia 2018, Israel's Biggest Sporting Event Ever, Is a Traffic Nightmare

Roads around the starting points in each city will be closed for at least five to nine hours

Groupama FDJ cyclist France's Thibaut Pinot rides during the team's presentation in Jerusalem, Thursday, May 3, 2018. The Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race is scheduled to start on Friday in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Ariel Schalit/AP

The biggest sporting event in Israel's history, the Giro d'Italia, kicked off in Jerusalem on Friday, causing traffic jams across the country.

The 21-day race started in Jerusalem, covering 9.7 kilometers there, and will continue with a 167-kilometer section from Haifa to Tel Aviv on Saturday and a 230-kilometer stretch from Be’er Sheva to Eilat on Sunday. The riders will then travel to Italy for the remainder of the event.

The organizers have published the timetable of the Israeli section of the Giro.

Traffic routes at the starting points in each city – Yitzhak Kariv Street in Jerusalem, the area around Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa and Be'er Sheva's city hall – will be closed for at least five to nine hours.

Intercity roads will also be closed in two-hour segments during the race. The police said they hope to open the roads as soon as possible, in accordance with bicycle traffic.

In Tel Aviv, the streets along the route of the Giro will be closed on both directions, as will the streets crossing the route. This include Ganei Yehoshua in Yarkon Park and Rothschild Blvd.  

"Thousands of police, border and security officers are preparing to protect public order, the participants and the spectators," the police said. They added that during and after the race, they will "prepare traffic for alternative routes ... while striving to minimize the impact on people's routines as much as possible."