Giro d'Italia finishes Israel race in Eilat

08 May, 2018, 00:38 | Author: Misty Newman
  • Elia Viviani

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Australia's Rohan Dennis took the race leader's pink jersey off reigning champion Tom Dumoulin as Italy's Elia Viviani won the Giro d'Italia second stage in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Italy's Elia Viviani, 29, won the second stage of the race in less than four hours bursting through from well behind to emerge from the back wheel of Irishman Sam Bennett and surge to victory. 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.

BMC's Dennis stayed out of danger on the stage and he will have the advantage when the race resumes after a rest day in Catania, Sicily on Tuesday.

The 2018 Giro d'Italia concludes on Sunday, May 27, in Rome after three weeks of racing.

The Giro start was seen as the biggest sporting event staged in Israel, and coincides with the country marking 70 years of independence. I say "looks lovely" because while I'd have no hesitation scoffing down new delicacies on holidays, I've mainly stuck to the staples ahead of today's race start for fear of upsetting my stomach. "I've got the best lead-out team for the sprints, so I don't really care who I am up against".

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

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Thousands of enthusiastic Israelis lined the urban time trial in Jerusalem on Friday.

Having already worn the yellow jersey of Tour de France leader and the red jersey of Vuelta a Espana leader, today he hoped to add the iconic pink jersey to his collection.

Belgium's Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo), who was tied with Dennis on Friday's time trial, was one of many riders to be caught out in the finale and dropped out of the top 10 after conceding 31 seconds.

The Dutch Team Sunweb rider remained in second place overall as Jose Goncalves of Team Katusha-Alpecin moved into third.

"The way the fans responded these three days, we've been impressed - we've also spoken about it amongst the riders - a Tour of Israel could be a good thing one day", he said.

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.

"They took to the race really well and supported us like they were a really big cycling country, which was really nice", Dennis said.

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