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

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani emerged from a bunch sprint to take his second ever stage win at the Giro d'Italia

Viviani was well off the pace with less than two kilometres to go but the Italian powered home to win comfortably ahead of Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Israel Cycling Academy, Israel's first professional cycling team, was among the teams participating in the race. The riders were aided by a strong wind and eventually the race was won by Elia Viviani for the second day in a row.

While the opening stages showed off the diverse landscapes' of Israel's north and southern regions, the Jerusalem section avoided any excursion into its eastern, Palestinian parts and passed by the iconic Jaffa Gate and landmarks such as Israel's Parliament and the Supreme Court.

Australian Rohan Dennis, of BMC Racing, takes the overall race lead from defending champion Tom Dumoulin after the 167km stage from Haifa.

We reached the final 30km and the pace began to rise.

Cyclists also anxious about the wind, which reached up to 35 kph (20 mph) in the stretch leading up to Eilat.

Thousands of cyclist fans lined the route on Saturday, as competitors sped through the historic cities of Acre and Caesarea, ending the race in Tel Aviv's Charles Clore Park close to the Port town of Jaffa.

Riders will now transfer to Italy tomorrow, following the controversial Big Start in Israel.

"This race has exceeded my expectations", Adams said after Saturday's race.

Viviani admitted he had been taken aback by Israel since arriving in the country on Tuesday, and not just because he wasn't expecting fans to be too hot on cycling.

In its 101-year history, the Giro has previously opened a dozen times outside Italy but never outside Europe. This, in order to exploit the tremendous exposure and interest in Israel as a result of the race.

The Giro has been warmly embraced in Israel.

Chris FROOME said he was confident that he had suffered only "superficial" injuries after struggling to 21st place in yesterday's opening-day time trial at the Giro d'Italia following a dramatic crash in practice.

Last year, 840 million people watched some portion of the Giro D'Italia on TV, and this year the number is expected to be a billion, according to Danny Benaim, CEO of Comtec Group, which is the production company in charge of the Big Start Israel and has overseen other major sporting events in Israel.

"For me, Israel has already won this race, as it afforded hundreds of millions of TV spectators to see our lovely country, and feel the warmth of our people, bearing witness that Israel is a diverse, open, free and safe country".

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