"Beersheba - Eilat": Elia Viviani won the second stage in a row

Monday, 07 May, 2018

Should stand. With AP Photos.

Modolo also came past Bennett to take second on the stage.

Italian Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) won the second stage in a row of the Giro D'Italia on Sunday's 229-kilometer (142-mile) race from Beersheba to Eilat.

Day Three began in Be'er Sheva and passed through southern Israel to finish at the Red Sea resort of Eilat.

"The pressure was off after yesterday's win", Viviani said.

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

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

Italian cyclist Elia Viviani crosses the finish line during the third stage of 2018 Giro d'Italia Tour of Italy cycling race in the Red Sea city of Eilat southern Israel Sunday
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"Of course it's never nice to be at home during the Giro, especially after the Olympics because at that point in my career I wanted to concentrate on the road to really establish myself", he said. In the top 3 progressed racer "Katyusha" Jose Goncalves.

Britain's Chris Froome finished safely in the peloton along with his rivals for the overall race win on a day that was set up for a bunch sprint. He is now 19th, 38 seconds behind the leader.

The riders head to the island of Sicily on Monday's rest day, with a 198km route from Catania to Caltagirone welcoming them when the race resumes on Tuesday with stage five.

"It sewed the first seeds of thought about changing teams but that wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, it was at the end of the season and discovering that Froome would be riding the Giro and once again I might be excluded". 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. It was the closing chapter of a historic three days, during which cycling captured the Israeli public's imagination.

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.

Although the 27-year-old Dumoulin is likely to hold onto the lead during the early stages in Israel, he said it would be hard to maintain his advantage for the entire race.

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.