Viviani wins second Giro stage in a row as Dennis keeps pink

Ruben Holloway
May 8, 2018

"It feels really good", said Dennis, who leads defending champion Tom Dumoulin - victor of Friday's opening time trial - by one second.

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Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) won stage 2 in a bunch sprint, just ahead of Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) at the end of the 167km stage down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv.

Viviani edged fellow Italian Sacha Modolo of EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at the finish line and pumped his fist in triumph in a near repeat of his sprint victory in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Tomorrow sees the first rest day of the race to allow the peloton and its accompanying circus to head back to Italy, where racing resumes on Sicily on Tuesday with a 198-kilometre stage from Catania to Caltagirone.

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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.

"This is all I wished, the win and quite a lot of time on the other GC riders", Dumoulin said.

I felt like throwing up after about 500m and eventually lost a minute and 14 seconds to Dumoulin to finish 116th.

Mullen is the best of the Irish on the overall general classification in 46th position, 58 seconds off the lead, while Bennett is 64th, 14 seconds behind his compatriot.

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The Giro d'Italia peloton faced a long 229km stage between Be'er Sheva and Eilat on Sunday, in the final stage of the race taking place in Israel.

Jerusalem's opening leg was named in honor of Gino Bartali, a three-time former Giro champion who in 2013 was posthumously bestowed Israel's highest honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.

Dennis said the ride through the desert was not as hot as originally feared and that strong winds were the main obstacle.

"I think the third week and even the second week is still a big unknown for me". It was the closing chapter of a historic three days, during which cycling captured the Israeli public's imagination.

The Israel Cycling Academy squad was making its maiden Grand Tour appearance and enjoyed the sight of one of its riders, Canadian Guillaume Boivin, leading for much of the stage before he was passed by the sprinters in the windy descent into Eilat.

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Dumoulin said he heard about Froome's crash before the race and was aware of the tricky route that snaked through Jerusalem.

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