Elia Viviani (Quick-Step) took a second consecutive stage win at the 2018 Giro d’Italia on stage three, beating Sacha Modolo (EF Education-Drapac) into second and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) into third place.
Viviani benefited from an expert lead out by his Quick-Step team-mates on the run in to the finish in Eilat, and tracked Sam Bennett towards the line after the Irishman had launched first.
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The Italian had too much speed for everyone though, and came down the right hand side of the road to take a third career victory at the Giro d’Italia.
Rohan Dennis (BMC) maintained the overall lead ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), with all the main GC contenders rolling in safely within the bunch.
How it happened
A long day awaited the riders on stage three, the final stage in Israel, with 229km from Be’er Sheva to Eilat.
The peloton were clearly happy to let a break get away, with King of the Mountains Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) getting up the road, establishing a maximum gap of 6-50.
From there the peloton rode with the break safely within reach, gradually bringing that gap down. But the trio admirably held on with 57 seconds from 26km to go around 18km to go.
With the speed up in the peloton as they chased the break, at just under 30km to go some riders were distanced off the back of the bunch including third place overall Victor Campanaerts (Lotto-Soudal), who failed to get back on.
More riders including Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida), fourth yesterday, were shed out the back in the final 12km.
The break were down to just 20 seconds with 10km to go, and Barbin was then caught with 7km to go, with the remaining pair caught with 5.7km remaining.
It was then down to the sprinters’s teams, with Quick-Step driving the pace on within the final 5km, stretching the group into one long line.
As they approached the final 500m, Sam Bennett launched first after the bunch came around the final bend to the straight towards home.
He could clearly sense the presence of Viviani behind him as he moved to the right in front of the Italian, almost forcing him to the barriers. But the Irishman had launched to early, and Viviani was able to come through on the right side of the rode to steal a second stage victory.
Sacha Modolo was able to fight back after being forced to brake, pipping Bennett to second after the Bora man faded.
Monday will see the riders travel back to Italy, with 198km from Catania to Caltagirone in Sicily welcoming them when the race resumes on Tuesday with stage five.
Giro d’Italia 2018 stage three: Be’er Sheva – Eilat (229km)
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors, in 5-02-09
2 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac
3 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
5 Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
6 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
8 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
9 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin, all same time
Overall classification after stage three
1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, in 09-05-20
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 1s
3 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin, at 13s
4 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, at 17s
5 Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 19s
6 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 21s
7 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 22s
8 Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 28s
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, st
10 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar, at 29s