Giro d'Italia finishes Israel race in Eilat

Elia Viviani wins Stage 2 as Rohan Dennis takes pink

It was Viviani's second consecutive stage victory after he also won the race's second stage from Haifa to Tel Aviv on Saturday.

"That doesn't take anything away from the fantastic years I had with the team because if I hadn't been with Sky, I don't know if I would have won the Olympics". "But the final straight was good for me".

Australian Dennis (BMC) made up for his disappointment in losing Friday's opening time trial by two slender seconds to Team Sunweb's Dumoulin by winning the second intermediate sprint and moving one second clear of the Dutchman in the general classification.

"I'm glad I took the decision to take the Giro d'Italia to Israel" race director Mauro Vegni told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). In the top 3 progressed racer "Katyusha" Jose Goncalves. He is now 19th, 38 seconds behind the leader.

With a rest day tomorrow, the race now moves to Italy in stage four on Tuesday, consisting of a 198km route from Catania to Caltagirone. The Giro will end in Rome on 27 May.

The Giro has been warmly embraced in Israel.

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Thousands of enthusiastic Israelis lined the urban time trial in Jerusalem on Friday. While there were fewer spectators Sunday due to the sparsely populated southern Negev Desert than the two previous stages, the riders were still cheered on by locals banging drums and strumming guitars.

Sheer boredom saw me switch over to the snooker World Championships momentarily before flicking back over to the Giro as they rolled through 60km to go. It was the closing chapter of a historic three days, during which cycling captured the Israeli public's imagination.

"When you race outside Europe, with the exceptions of America or Australia, it can be very quiet, but here they've really taken to the race".

The peloton seemed relaxed as it departed Be'er Sheva with a trio managing to escape pretty easily consisting of Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF) and Marco Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec). "This was a Giro d'Israel, a three-day tour around our special country".

"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, bearing witness that Israel is a diverse, open, free and safe country".

Many in the country associated with organizing the Big Start Israel gave a sigh of relief as the riders crossed the finish line on Sunday, capping off the most complicated, expensive, and logistically challenging sporting event Israel has ever hosted, according to Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev.

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