With a bonus of three seconds available at each of the race's intermediate sprints, BMC put in a huge turn to set Dennis up for the sprint, with Viviani close behind, although he was just stretching his legs for the real prize another 60km down the road.
The riders will leave Israel for Italy on Monday, with the Giro to resume on the island of Sicily on Tuesday. There was a strong wind, so I chose to leave my lead-out behind and follow either [Sam] Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) or [Sacha] Modolo (Team EF-Education First-Drapac) Then when Bennett went, I knew it was a long sprint.
In a chaotic conclusion to the 167km stage in Israel, Italy's Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) darted onto the wheel of compatriot Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Triestina) before rounding the pint-sized sprinter to win by a bike length.
Dumoulin was the last of the 175 riders to start the stage and finished the 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) time trial in 12 minutes, 2 seconds to claim the pink jersey.
We reached the final 30km and the pace began to rise. "Then yesterday's wow, as tens of thousands of fans watched the riders depart Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, and then thousands more in Acre, Zichron Yaakov, Caesarea, Netanya before reaching Tel Aviv, where the biggest crowds of all received the riders".
When I found out a few days ago that I was off third last today, in between Chris Froome and former world time trial champion Tony Martin, my cousin Eric reassured me that at least if I wasn't going well the cameras would probably be focused on the other two anyway.
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The three Grand Tours now have a tradition of starting outside their home country every second year.
Cyclists at the starting line of Stage 3 of the Giro D'Italia in Beersheba, southern Israel, on May 6, 2018.
"This race has exceeded my expectations". Reports indicate that Israel was given the unique honor of hosting the event due to the earnest advocacy of Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli cycling enthusiast who hoped both to promote cycling in Israel as well as to dispel the myth that Israel is an ugly or war-torn place and to showcase it in honor of its 70th anniversary of independence.
The Giro has been warmly embraced in Israel. Elia Viviani won the third stage of the 101st Giro d'Italia in a bunch sprint finish.
The possible absence of big sprint names in the Giro this year, he said, was not relevant.
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.