Viviani victorious as Giro D'Italia ends last Israel stage in Eilat

He claimed three bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint after superb work by his team-mates to overcome his two-second deficit from Friday's opening time trial in Jerusalem, where he was second to Dumoulin.

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Sam Bennett had to settle for another third-placed finish as Elia Viviani, of Quick-Step Floors, sealed his second consecutive Giro d'Italia win, as the Italian was the fastest in a bunch sprint finish in the third stage.

Sacha Modolo (Cannondale-Drapac) finished second as Bennett faded into third on the 229km stage from Be'er Sheva to Eilat, the longest of this year's race. The general classification was unlikely to change on the predominantly flat route however, with the GC contenders eyeing the upcoming stage on return to Italy.

There followed two sprint stages through Israel, finishing in Tel Aviv and then Eilat before the whole shebang returned to its homeland for Monday's rest day ahead of Tuesday's fourth stage in Sicily. "But the time trial in Jerusalem was simply magical, as the helicopter footage of this historic and splendid city, lined with cheering fans, took it up to another level", said honorary president of "Big Start" Israel Sylvan Adams.

"The pressure was off after yesterday's win", Viviani said.

It remains to be seen whether Froome is 100 per cent recovered from that crash.

"I'm glad I took the decision to take the Giro d'Italia to Israel" race director Mauro Vegni told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Four-time Tour de France victor Chris Froome, who bloodied his right knee and ripped his shorts and jersey in a training crash before Friday's opening leg, finished safely in the middle of the pack.

Giro organisers have previously mooted the possibility of starting the race in Tokyo or Washington, but Dennis said there must be a limit in terms of how far riders are expected to travel from one day to the next.

Dennis finished in the peloton and will wear the pink jersey on Sunday.

"But I felt better later and I knew that I was the favourite at the finish". Jose Goncalves (Portugal, Katusha-Alpecin) Is 0,134.

The Giro d'Italia's Israeli excursion is over, and now the excitement begins. "We made contact but I went through", he said.

He praised the enthusiasm of the Israeli fans he encountered over the three days. The Giro will end in Rome on May 27.

Deemed as the world's second most prestigious cycling competition after the Tour de France, it was arguably the biggest sporting event ever to be held in Israel.

  • Fernando Stephens