Giro d'Italia a bit hit in Israel

Nicolas Roche

Should stand. With AP Photos. The Italian finished the lengthy 229-kilometer (143-mile) route through Israel's Negev desert to its southern tip of Eilat along the Red Sea in just over five hours.

General Classification Leader at the end of the Big Start Israel, Rohan Dennis, in a Press Conference following the race, said that the crowd "took to the race very well, it is nearly as if they were a really big cycling country".

Elia Viviani came out on top in a feisty sprint finish to win stage three of the Giro d'Italia in Eilat, while BMC's Rohan Dennis kept hold of the race leader's pink jersey.

The Quick-Step Floors rider piped fellow Italian Sacha Modolo on the line to assert his sprint dominance. Yesterday proved I can win and so I wanted it again.

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

The repeat victory helped solidify his reputation as one of the world's top sprinters.

The team delivered me exactly where I needed to be for the sprint and all I had to do was go as hard as I could and there was no way I couldn't win it. The Dutchman remained in second place overall as Jose Goncalves moved into third.

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Normally, Froome would have expected to gain significant time on those three. He is now 19th, 38 seconds behind the leader. They encountered Israeli flag-waving fans and spectators on horseback wearing Giro pink shirts along the way, and even passed a group of goat herders.

On Wednesday, after a 65km training ride in the morning, we had an afternoon meeting cancelled at the last moment so my team-mates and I took a taxi into the old town for a wander around and, apart from the beauty of the area, the first thing we noticed was the amount of armed police everywhere. It was the closing chapter of a historic three days, during which cycling captured the Israeli public's imagination.

Although we're in Israel, I could have sworn we were in Italy at the team presentation last night.

Israel Cycling Academy's Guillaume Boivin was cheered on by the home crowd as the Canadian, along with Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), led the race from the start.

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.

"I'm glad I took the decision to take the Giro d'Italia to Israel" race director Mauro Vegni told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

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