Viviani repeats sprint success on third stage of Giro d'Italia

Nicolas Roche

Nicolas Roche

Ireland's Sam Bennett, who Viviani later accused of forcing him towards the barriers, ended third on the same time.

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In a chaotic conclusion to the 167km stage in Israel, Italy's Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) darted onto the wheel of compatriot Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Triestina) before rounding the pint-sized sprinter to win by a bike length. 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.

Cycling - the 101st Giro d'Italia cycling race - The 167-km Stage 2 from Haifa to Tel Aviv, Israel - May 5, 2018 - Riders compete on a main road near Netanya, Israel.

Jerusalem's opening leg was named in honor of Gino Bartali, a three-time former Giro champion who in 2013 was posthumously named a Righteous Among the Nations, Israel's highest honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

While Dennis perhaps benefited from a little good will on the part of Viviani in the intermediate sprint, the Italian gave no favours in the finale - despite being made to sweat on what was ultimately a comfortable win. "It was chaotic because of all those corners and roundabouts, but we can be proud of ourselves", Viviani said.

Eilat - Australian Rohan Dennis praised Israeli authorities for their handling of the Giro d'Italia "Big Start" but said there must be a limit to how far from home a Grand Tour is prepared to go.

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Dennis now leads by one second from Dumoulin with Belgian Victor Campenaerts third at 3sec.

For the first time in history, 176 of the world's top cyclists kicked off the Giro d'Italia against the backdrop of Jerusalem's Old City. From Cervinia, the Giro will move on May 27th to Rome for the 21 and last stage.

"We knew that the second sprint was the one with bonus time and we thought that if it was within grasp, and the breakaway wasn't too far away, we would try".

Day Three began in Be'er Sheva and passed through southern Israel to finish at the Red Sea resort of Eilat.

Guillaume Boivin, riding for the Israel Cycling Academy, used his knowledge of the hard conditions to establish an early breakaway alongside Marco Frapporti and Enrico Barbin.

Since 2006, the Giro has commenced alternate years with a "Big-Start" competition outside of Italy.

"For me, Israel has already won this race, as it afforded hundreds of millions of TV spectators to see our handsome country and feel the warmth of our people", he told The Associated Press.

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