The History of Gran Fondo Jerusalem


So how did it all started in the first place? Back in 2010, a passionate sports-man named Shay Rishoni came up with an ambitious vision: producing a world-class cycling event in the world’s holiest city, Jerusalem.

Shay a man of deeds with a background in logistics management, decided to bring the “Gran-Fondo” phenomenon to the capital of Israel: Gran Fondo means “Long Distance” or “Great Endurance” in Italian, and it’s the cycling version of the high-mass international running marathons.

Some cyclists ride for the satisfaction and pride of just “making it” to the finish line while others want to improve upon their previous times, and to challenge themselves, their friends, or their teammates.

In his mind, Shay had a clear vision: “Giving a once in a life-time experience to every Gran Fondo participants”.
As an avid athlete, he participated in some of the world’s biggest endurance events, which made him to realize what sort of experience he wants to create in his own event.

Shay’s main aim was to create the ultimate cycling experience: beside the sportive part, he wanted to create a one of a kind festival that will bring its participants pure joy and fun. From the famous “Pasta Party”, to the rich participants race bag filled with high quality gifts and products provided by the race’s sponsors and partners.

From the colorful Expo-zone, through the festive Podium ceremony and to the unique mix of passionate cyclists from all-over the world who choose to take part in this one of a kind event.

His target was todevelop an annual Cycling event in Jerusalem which will attract cyclists from all over the world: amateur and professional cyclists, men and women, children, parents and entire families.

The collaboration with Jerusalem’s Municipality was a key landmark in the project, as it is extremely enthusiastic about sports in general and sports tourism in particular.

The event will take place in the city and its surroundings, which look very attractive to cyclist from all over the world.

Also the event timing during the year represents a very important aspects of the decision-making process. This is way Shay went for a date that allow foreign participants to enjoy the sun of Israel while in Europe it will be rainy and cold.

Then Shay has began a long-term journey and established a professional production company that he called Mediterraneo 365 ltd. In the summer of 2011 while the young company is moving its first steps, and only a few months after ranking 3rd at the prestigious Iron-Man competition, Shay has been diagnosed with an ALS disease. The severe muscle atrophy disease, which would have put an end to any other’s man dreams, didn’t harm Shay’s vision at all, but strengthen it even further. With his unique charm and charisma, Shay had gathered together a quality team around him, with whom he shared his vision.

From his wheel chair, he shared his professional know-how in logistics and administration, pushed the team forward and inspired people to believe that impossible is truly nothing.
Along with his wide vision in the field of sports, he enlarged it and decided to use the platform of the events in order to raise funds for the ALS disease research
He realized the importance of more people being exposed to his story and of the big influence he could have on them.
He made it loud and clear: “I will devote my entire self to help finding a medical solution to this disease”
While coping with the life-changing symptoms of the disease, Shay has created some important partnerships.
At the end of 2012 he joined forces with a good friend of him and fellow sports man – Aitor Azpiazu. Aitor, a Spanish guy who lives in Israel, has been a dominant force in the Israeli sports scene for a long time.He has established Israel’s first high-performance training center –named Ozone Eleven- and was one of the Organizers of “Saxo-Bank Pro Cycling Team”, building camp in Israel in 2011.


The collaboration with Aitor, guaranteed the company, now named Ozone-Mediterraneo, to raise the banner of quality and world-class production standards in every single aspect. Together, they have approached Jerusalem’s municipality and signed a breakthrough partnership with the sports department.

Ozone-Mediterraneo brought the Gran Fondo message to the Israeli public in 3 breakthrough events across the country roads.

While gaining experience and strengthening the company’s brand, they set their eyes on their bigger vision – creating one of the world’s most popular sports events in the city of Jerusalem. With this vision in mind they approached RCS – the company that owns one of the world’s most exciting sport events: the prestigious Giro d’Italia. The company, organizes some of the world’s most prestigious international Gran-Fondos, with the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia brand (among them: the Gran Fondo Five-Boro of New York, Gran Fondo Miami, Gran Fondo Pasadena – LA, and more) that became a symbol of the Italian culture worldwide.

Lorenzo De Salvo, head of the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia project at RCS has immediately recognized the potential of this unique opportunity, and decided to partner with OzoneMediterraneo, in order to bring the event to Jerusalem.

The product resulting from the partnership is the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Jerusalem, a unique and attractive event!