Viviani victorious as Giro D'Italia ends last Israel stage in Eilat

Heather Diaz
May 7, 2018

"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". It was his second stage victory in as many days. Carlton Kirby was trying his best to brew excitement but I couldn't help but feel I was being punished by being made to watch the peloton roll through the empty desert.

But Viviani was right on his wheel and, despite nearly being pushed into the barriers by a veering Bennett, kept his nerve to take his third stage win at the Giro as the Irishman was forced into third.

The Team Sky rider ended up giving away 37 seconds - a sizeable chunk of time - to Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin after losing his front wheel at around 20mph while on a reconnaissance ride a few hours before the main event. The Dutchman remained in second place overall as Jose Goncalves moved into third.

The emotional Italian, who won Olympic ominium gold on the track in 2016, spent three years with the dominant outfit of Tour de France champion Chris Froome but said he left to pursue his own ambitions at his home Tour. He is now 19th, 38 seconds behind the leader. The Giro will end in Rome on May 27.

The riders will then take a breathe for a day of rest before travelling to Southern Italy to continue the three week race, across 21 stages. The riders were cheered along the 226km route by groups of local supporters, with many having prepared visual displays on the roadside in pink, continuing the Israeli public's enthusiastic embrace of the Giro d'italia. On Friday, cyclists performed a 10km time trial in Jerusalem.

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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.

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.

"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".

Barbin attacked at the outset of the second-longest stage of the race, joining forces with Canada's Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) and compatriot Marco Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec) to build up maximum lead of seven-and-a-half minutes over the sluggish pack. "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 lovely country and feel the warmth of our people", he told The Associated Press.

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