Riders compete on a main road near Mitzpe Ramon during stage 3 of the 101st Giro d'Italia cycling race from Beersheba to Eilat, Israel, May 6, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
The Giro d’Italia “Big Start” in Israel reached its climax in Israel on Sunday, as 175 riders from 22 teams raced toward the finish line in the southernmost city of Eilat. It was the closing chapter of a historic three days, during which cycling captured the Israeli public’s imagination.
The Italian rider Elia Viviani (Quick- Step Floors) won in a bunch sprint after a ride of 229 km. that began in Beersheba. It was Viviani’s second consecutive stage victory after he also won the race’s second stage from Haifa to Tel Aviv on Saturday.
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) remains the race General Classification leader, wearing the Maglia Rosa, the pink jersey.
Stage three took place alongside southern Israel’s dramatic scenery, including the Ramon Crater. Having led much of Saturday’s stage, Israel Cycling Academy’s Guillaume Boivin once again hit the front of the race early on, narrowly missing out on the King of the Mountains blue jersey.
The riders will leave Israel for Italy on Monday, with the Giro to resume on the island of Sicily on Tuesday.
“I thought we reached the pinnacle Thursday with the team presentations and gala opening party. But the time trial in Jerusalem was simply magical, as the helicopter footage of this historic and splendid city, lined with cheering fans, took it up to another level,” said honorary president of “Big Start” Israel Sylvan Adams. “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.
“This race has exceeded my expectations. Israelis are the greatest fans in the world,” he added. “For me, Israel has already won this race, as it afforded hundreds of millions of TV spectators to see our beautiful country, and feel the warmth of our people, bearing witness that Israel is a diverse, open, free and safe country. This was a Giro d’Israel, a threeday tour around our special country.”
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