Dennis holds as Viviani wins another at the Giro

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This followed on from a Friday 9.7 kilometer individual time trial in Jerusalem and a Saturday 167 kilometer race that saw cyclists cover the distance from Tel Aviv to Haifa.

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Sam Bennett had to settle for another third-placed finish as Elia Viviani, of Quick-Step Floors, sealed his second consecutive Giro d'Italia win, as the Italian was the fastest in a bunch sprint finish in the third stage.

Viviani edged Italian countryman Sacha Modolo at the finish line and pumped his fist in triumph in a near repeat of his sprint victory on Saturday in Tel Aviv.

Australian Dennis (BMC) made up for his disappointment in losing Friday's opening time trial by two slender seconds to Team Sunweb's Dumoulin by winning the second intermediate sprint and moving one second clear of the Dutchman in the general classification.

Tomorrow sees the first rest day of the race to allow the peloton and its accompanying circus to head back to Italy, where racing resumes on Sicily on Tuesday with a 198-kilometre stage from Catania to Caltagirone.

Cyclist ride during the last stage at the Giro d'Italia, near the Makhtesh Ramon Crater in Southern Israel on May 6, 2018.

The victory was his first ever second stage win at the Giro d'Italia. "For me, Israel has already won this race, as it afforded hundreds of millions of TV spectators to see our attractive country, and feel the warmth of our people, bearing witness that Israel is a diverse, open, free and safe country".

"This morning in the first two hours I felt really bad and my energy was low despite my win yesterday", Viviani said.

Dennis now leads by one second from Dumoulin with Belgian Victor Campenaerts third at 3sec.

Jerusalem's opening leg was named in honor of Gino Bartali, a three-time former Giro champion who in 2013 was posthumously bestowed Israel's highest honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. From Cervinia, the Giro will move on May 27th to Rome for the 21 and last stage.

They encountered Israeli flag-waving fans and spectators on horseback wearing the maglia rosa along the way, and even passed a group of goat herders.

"That doesn't take anything away from the fantastic years I had with the team because if I hadn't been with Sky, I don't know if I would have won the Olympics".

Since 2006, the Giro has commenced alternate years with a "Big-Start" competition outside of Italy.

The three Grand Tours now have a tradition of starting outside their home country every second year.