La grande partenza in Jerusalem will be a historic first but brings an unprecedented level of political controversy to cycling’s second biggest event

Israel is a country of builders. Almost 70 years after its foundation skycrapers jostle for space along the Mediterranean strand, planted in the fertile soil of a Tel Aviv property boom. Up in the Judean Hills, other kinds of structures – architectures of military control in the occupied Palestinian territories – spring up, too.

Israelis are now turning their attention to a new kind of construction: image. Despite the occupation and condemnation from the international community, Israel is ready to project its pride at what it has built and paint over the canvas of conflict. Holding the brush is Sylvan Adams, an ebullient 58-year-old property billionaire who emigrated from Canada in 2016.

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