Giro d’Italia Sets Off CycleMania in Israel; First Velodrome in Middle East to Open in Tel Aviv
Written by Mara Vigevani/TPS on May 01, 2018
Cycle-mania continued to grip Israel on Tuesday as the Middle East’s first velodrome, an indoor cycle racing track with banked walls with a slope of 45 degrees, was unveiled Tuesday at the National Sports Center in Tel Aviv.
The project, a charitable project of Jewish-Canadian philanthropist Silvan Adams, was timed to coincide with the Big Start Israel Giro d’Italia, which will kick off in Jerusalem on Friday.
Adams, who is also the honorary president of the Giro d’Italia in Israel, attended the ceremony together with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Dr. Yoni Yarom, the president of the Israel Cycling Federation and Gilles Peruzzi, Track and Para-cycling Manager at the Union Cycliste Internazionale.
Peruzzi arrived in Israel last week to approve the velodrome for international competition, and the Israel Cycling Federation has already applied to host the 2021 World Youth cycling Championship in 2021.
At the ceremony, members of the Israel Cycling Academy, the country’s first professional cycling team, together with Silvan Adams inaugurated the venue with a ride around the track. The Velodrome which meets Olympic standards, which stipulate that the route should be 250 meters long and includes the most advanced slope tracks.
“The purpose of the Velodrome is to encourage children from all over Israel to ride here and experience the world of cycling, and the importance of physical activity and sports,” Adams said at the ceremony. “It is also the most advanced cycling facility in the Middle East and we aspire to host international competitions here, with the participation of our regional neighbors.
“We want to use sport as a basis for good relationships between nations. On the day that cycling teams from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates arrived in Israel to participate in the Giro d’Italia, we unveiled the Velodrome. (We want them to know) that they are always welcome and that we can compete and practice together!” he said.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai added that he was initially skeptical when Adams approached him three years ago with the idea to build a velodrome in Tel Aviv.
“It’s crazy that there isn’t a professional cycling facility in Tel Aviv-Jaffa,” Huldai recalled Adams saying. “Now, thanks to this ‘crazy’ man, the Giro d’ Italia will be held here this weekend. Silvan Adams is a person who contributes greatly to many important social projects in this city.
“In order to honor his contributions and because of his great love for cycling, we have decided to name the Velodrome after him. “
The Velodrome is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will open to the public.