Giro d’Italia kicks off in Jerusalem with hot weather and excitement

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Jerusalem, May 4 (IANS) The 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia road cycling race kicked off here on Friday, amid high expectations and hot weather.

Thousands of people gathered in the streets to cheer for 176 riders belonging to 22 teams, including, for the first time, an Israeli squad, reports Efe.

The race starts with a 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) time trial stage in the western part of the city, away from the eastern part, which is the side regarded by the international community as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Palestinians protested against holding the event in the holy city and announced that they would take to the streets.

Nearly 6,000 police and security officers were deployed to secure the event.

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The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the race was likely to create traffic congestion as many streets are to remain closed during the three-day event.

–IANS

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