The launch event saw many VIPs from across sport, entertainment, local authorities, sponsors and media, including: Dumoulin, Nibali, Aru, Contador, UCI President David Lappartient and the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi.
The winner of the last edition of the Giro d’Italia, Tom Dumoulin, said: “Last year it was amazing. I love all sorts of Time Trials and I like a Grand Tour to start this way, with an ITT, it will be the first opportunity to wear the Maglia Rosa. The mountain stages are always the ones to be careful about: the Zoncolan, but also the following day, stage 15 is really not to be underestimated. I like this Giro but I cannot say anything yet about my presence at the start in May… first I need to carefully study the route. I was the strongest in 2017, but 2018 is a different race. Froome is a strong rider and his presence makes the race harder and more interesting.”
Multiple Grand Tour winner, Vincenzo Nibali, said: “Racing at home is something special because of the public who cheer and help sustain you in so many ways. The support from the people makes it unique, it is difficult to explain. The Sicilian stages are in the areas of the island I know less well – I have never climbed the Etna from the observatory side. If I think about Michele Scarponi I can only smile. I still miss him. It would have been nice to have him next to me climbing the Zoncolan. I fought with Contador the last time I raced there: a very hard stage. I know Froome well, I challenged him at the Vuelta a few months ago. It’s not only him but all of his team that’s really strong, and will be hard to beat.”
The Sardinian champion, Fabio Aru, said: “The first climbs are really important because you have good condition from the beginning of the race. Losing seconds or even minutes at the start of the Giro could be very difficult to recover later. I was with Michele Scarponi until a few days before [his death], I continue to look at videos and photos of him. I really miss him. Froome will be an extra champion to beat, I do not know if I will be there, but his presence will make the Giro even more special.”
Spanish cycling great, Alberto Contador, said: “I’ve been to Israel and have seen the routes. The first Individual Time Trial will be very technical, and if it rains there may be great time differences. Michele Scarponi was a friend, thinking about him always makes me smile. Even when he was tired, he continued to make jokes“.
The UCI President, David Lappartient, said: “Following the Giro d’Italia’s amazing centenary event last year, the Italian stage race will be back in 2018 with another extremely challenging and hard-fought three weeks of racing. The Giro is one of the most important races on the UCI WorldTour calendar, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate RCS for its excellent organisation year in, year out. With its beautiful routes and guaranteed drama, the Giro d’Italia will again be a perfect kick-off to the 2018 Grand Tours season, and I look forward immensely to this 101st edition.”
Luca Lotti, Italy’s Sport Minister, said: “The Giro d’Italia is not simply a great sporting spectacle; it’s a piece of our country’s history. It contains the positive energy of an international competition and the emotion of an event that remembers the past while looking into the future. Being from Tuscany, I’m proud that this particular edition of the Giro will commemorate Gino Bartali, an extraordinary champion who wrote his name in history thanks to his heroic human virtues, a real example for the new generations.”
Urbano Cairo, RCS MediaGroup CEO, said: “The Giro d’Italia’s 101st edition, the first of a new era, will be an event already acclaimed as historic by the public. For the first time ever a Grand Tour will start outside of Europe, linking two cities with great moral and cultural values such as Jerusalem and Rome.”
Mario Orfeo, Rai Managing Director, said: “Rai is proud to be, as always, the point of reference in the narration of the Giro: we’ll do it again this year, showcasing the fight for the Maglia Rosa alongside the protagonists, the stories, the victories and the defeats, the places where the race is competed, from Jerusalem to Rome, the start and finish cities of the 2018 edition, two places with extraordinary symbolic value.”
The Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, said: “Seeing all the Giro d’Italia cyclists racing on the streets of Rome with on the background the Coliseum, the Imperial Forums and all the other beautiful landscapes of the Eternal City is going to be a unique spectacle and source of pride for us. After such a challenging route, we will try to alleviate the pain of the athletes with the beauties of our city.”
RCS Sport Managing Director, Paolo Bellino, said: “For the first time a Grand Tour will start outside of Europe and this makes us proud. Media internationalisation and researching new frontiers for our events, and in particular for the Corsa Rosa, are objectives that excite us and lead us outside of the Italian borders without forgetting our history and our country. The Giro has to become a shop window that promotes Italy around the World.”
Giro d’Italia Director, Mauro Vegni, said: “Every year the Giro wants to tell interesting stories and broadcast images of beautiful places. The territories visited during the stages of this edition will showcase tradition, culture and wonderful landscapes to the world. It will be a particularly compelling Giro with spectacular racing, including eight uphill finishes and so many tricky stages. The Big Start from Israel, which is the first time outside of Europe, the finish in Rome in front of the Coliseum and the whole route will be a fantastic promotion tool, not only from a sporting point of view. In 2018, we’ll have great champions in contention, starting with Chris Froome who will try to make history by winning the only Grand Tour missing from his record book so far.”