Another Giro d'Italia podium finish for Sam Bennett

Another Giro d'Italia podium finish for Sam Bennett

Another Giro d'Italia podium finish for Sam Bennett

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) grabbed his second grand tour win, nudging past Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) in a bunch-sprint finish at the end of the 167km stage down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv.

"This is all I wished for, the win and a lot of time on other GC riders, so it was a flawless start for me and a ideal start for the team". Having gone off in the first wave of riders he set the fastest time of the day, stopping the clock at 12 minutes and four seconds.

"But I felt better later and I knew that I was the favourite at the finish".

Stage 3 was the final stage in Israel for the 2018 Giro d'Italia taking the riders on a long 226km course from Be'er Sheva to the shores of the red sea in the coastal town of Eilat.

The 120 million shekel (34 million dollars, 27 million euros) investment in the Israeli leg attracted thousands of tourists as spectators watched to see whether four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, victor of three Grand Tour titles in a row. He is now 19th, 38 seconds behind the leader. From Cervinia, the Giro will move on May 27th to Rome for the 21 and last stage.

Dennis' ability to stay out of danger means he will have the advantage when the race resumes after a rest day in Catania, Sicily on Tuesday.

Dennis said the ride through the desert was not as hot as originally feared and that strong winds were the main obstacle as they went through the barren moonscape after passing by its famous craters.

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It was the closing chapter of an historic three days, during which cycling has captured the Israeli public 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".

Another Italian, Enrico Barbin of Bardiani-CSF, secured the first blue king of the mountains jersey of the 101st edition of the race after picking his way through the crowds to crest the summit of the only categorised climb of the day in pole position.

Israel Cycling Academy co-owner Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli cycling enthusiast who played a key role in bringing the Giro to Israel, said it was a dream come true.

After the race's conclusion in Eilat, nearly 1,000 people and three cargo planes full of bikes and gear will fly out of tiny Uvda airport in the space of an hour to reach the next stage of the race in Italy.

Giro d'Italia is the biggest and most prestigious sporting event staged in Israel and coincides with the Jewish state's 70th anniversary. "This was a Giro d'Israel, a three-day tour around our special country".

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