Giro d'Italia: Viviani wins high-speed sprint in Tel Aviv

Elia Viviani lived up to expectations to win the chaotic stage 2 sprint finish in Tel Aviv at the Giro d'Italia. The Italian lost his Quick-Step Floors lead-out but played it cool and came from behind. When Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina) jumped early, Viviani got on his wheel and then surged past him to win. Mareczko held on for second place, with Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) third.

"It wasn't easy to win. I'm usually calm but it wasn't easy to do well after a good start to season but then a stop, then starting again. I felt the pressure that I was the rider to beat," Viviani said.

"It was difficult to stay together in the finale, so I used the team to keep the speed high. Then I got on Bennett's wheel. The others hesitated but I knew somebody would do something and was ready. When Mareczko I got on him and then did my sprint. It was important to read it right."

Rohan Dennis (BMC) is the new race leader and pulled on the pink jersey after taking three precious bonus seconds by winning the second intermediate sprint. He finished in the peloton, with Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), who was happy to let the maglia rosa go. The Australian now leads the GIro d'Italia by one second over Dumoulin and three seconds to Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Fix All).

Dennis admitted that he really didn't want the pressure of going for the intermediate sprint but he was honoured to take he pink jersey.

"I have to thank the team. I didn't want to sprint today to be honest. I didn't want to because the guys would then have to ride. I wanted to leave the pressure on Sunweb but they said: 'No, we back you,' so I have thank them," Dennis said.

"Of course now I'd like to keep the pink jersey but 19 more stages is a long way to go. I've got a lot of things to learn before I start think of pink jerseys and Rome. That's a dream. I've got to be realistic and try to learn from guys like Dumoulin. But I'm going to enjoy this pink jersey, it's an honour."

Sunday's 229km third stage is from Be’er Sheva to Eliat south through the Israel desert.

How it happened

The riders lined-up under a warm sun, happy to finally start road racing after arriving in Israel on Tuesday and riding just 9.7km on Friday's opening time trial stage.

During the 11.9km-neutralised section, riders were packed up close to the bumper of the race director's car, and the first attack came as soon as the flag dropped, and the race was on.

Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli) got away and was joined by Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Fix All) and Guy Niv (Israel Cycling Academy). The peloton let them go, but other riders changed their minds and lead the chase to produce gruppo compatto.
However, Ballerini went again and as joined by Lars Bak (Lotto Fix All). Niv tried to join them but had spent too much earlier.

Fortunately, the peloton eased after a crash in Acres and so Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) took the opportunity to jump across to create a three-rider break.

Ballerini won the first intermediate sprint as Viviani took fourth place in the bunch sprint to take eight points in the points competition.

The stage seemed set to follow a traditional path, but then BMC moved to the front and began to chase the break. The gap was initially three minutes, but it melted under the hot sun and was soon less than a minute. BMC really believed that Dennis could win the second sprint and take the pink jersey. Perhaps they had struck a deal with other teams to help them take the race lead in exchange for help later in this year's Giro d'Italia.

Bardiani-CSF take the early lead the mountain competition

The day's only categorised climb was held over the category 4 Zikhron Ya'Aqov, at the 91km mark (75km to go). The punchy ascent was vital because it offered the first mountain points and the winner would be assured the lead of the mountain classification at the Giro d'Italia, and wear the blue jersey during stage 3.

Due to BMC's intense chase, the breakaway of three riders just barely made it to the base of the climb ahead of the peloton. Behind Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF) jumped across to them and the four fought to be first to the summit.

Boivin launched his attack first and was swarmed by fans running and cheering behind him on the ascent. He gained a small lead on his breakaway rivals, but as he approached the top of the climb, his legs fatigued. Barbin kicked with a powerful sprint to cross the line first and take the glory.

It was a disappointment for Boivin, who punched his handlebars but it was a celebration for Barbin and his Italian team Bardiani-CSF, proud to take the first climber's jersey of the race with a one-point lead over Boivin and two points ahead of Ballerini.

Dennis wins bonus sprint and takes pink

As soon as Barbin eased up over the summit, BMC dragged the peloton to the remains of the break and prepared for their moment. The second intermediate sprint of the day was located just 14km later at the 105.3km mark in Caesarea.

The sprint offered a time bonuses of three seconds to the winner, and with only two seconds separating the top three in the overall classification, the maglia rosa was Dumoulin's to lose.

Dennis and Campenaerts, who placed second and third, respectively in the stage 1 time trial, started the day at two seconds behind stage winner Dumoulin. The Dutchman hinted that he would not defend the race lead so early into the three-week tour.

As BMC lead the peloton at high speed, Dumoulin stayed hidden in the peloton as he tried to surrender his maglia rosa.
BMC did a perfect lead-out for Dennis on the rising finish.

Campenaerts opened a sprint from the outside of the peloton, but he was no match for Dennis. The Australian took a straight line along the barriers, and so took the three seconds bonus. Viviani came up too late, and so Dennis became virtual maglia rosa by one second ahead of Dumoulin and three seconds ahead of Campenaerts.

The peloton eased after the climb and the sprint as they faced a head/side wind along the coast road to Tel Aviv. However, Boivin wanted to show off the Israel Cycling Academy jersey and attacked alone. The peloton was happy to let him go and let him hang off the front before the sprint teams took over in the high-speed sprint finish.

The sprint finale began with 20km to go, as the teams lined up to protect their overall leaders and ride for their sprinters. No one team had the strength or desire to lead-out the sprint, with the series of tight city-centre turns shuffling the front of the pack.

LottoNL-Jumbo tried to line out the peloton and so did Katusha but other teams surged ahead as they fought for position.

Wout Poels (Team Sky) suffered a mechanical and lost 40 seconds. However, all the other GC riders managed to avoid the chaos and finish together.

The Quick-Step Floors team finally emerged after the final left turn with 600 metres to go but Viviani was on their wheel, causing them to panic and sit up. He had used his track instinct in the complex finale and opted to follow Sam Bennett. When Mareczko opened up along the barriers, he jumped on his wheel to get the perfect lead-out to his second career victory at the Giro d'Italia.

He also took the cyclamen points jersey and made himself the favourite for the expected second sprint at the end of Sunday's 229km third stage from Be'er Sheva to Eliat through the Israel desert.



Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors3:51:20
2Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle ItaliaRow 1 - Cell 2
3Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-HansgroheRow 2 - Cell 2
4Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 3 - Cell 2
5Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 4 - Cell 2
6Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 5 - Cell 2
7Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension DataRow 6 - Cell 2
8Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 7 - Cell 2
9Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 8 - Cell 2
10Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 10 - Cell 2
12Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 11 - Cell 2
13Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 12 - Cell 2
14Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 13 - Cell 2
15Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 14 - Cell 2
16Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-AlpecinRow 15 - Cell 2
17Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La MondialeRow 16 - Cell 2
18Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 17 - Cell 2
19Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team SunwebRow 18 - Cell 2
20Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 19 - Cell 2
21Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJRow 20 - Cell 2
22Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 21 - Cell 2
23José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 22 - Cell 2
24Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 23 - Cell 2
25Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 24 - Cell 2
26Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 25 - Cell 2
27Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 26 - Cell 2
28Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-ScottRow 27 - Cell 2
29Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 28 - Cell 2
30Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 29 - Cell 2
31Chris Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 30 - Cell 2
32Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 31 - Cell 2
33Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 32 - Cell 2
34Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 33 - Cell 2
35Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 34 - Cell 2
36Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-JumboRow 36 - Cell 2
38Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Fix AllRow 38 - Cell 2
40Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 39 - Cell 2
41Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 40 - Cell 2
42Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Fix AllRow 41 - Cell 2
43Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 42 - Cell 2
44Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 43 - Cell 2
45Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 44 - Cell 2
46Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 45 - Cell 2
47Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 46 - Cell 2
48Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 47 - Cell 2
49Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 49 - Cell 2
51Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 50 - Cell 2
52Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step FloorsRow 51 - Cell 2
53Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension DataRow 52 - Cell 2
54Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 54 - Cell 2
56Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix AllRow 55 - Cell 2
57Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 56 - Cell 2
58Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 57 - Cell 2
59Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension DataRow 58 - Cell 2
60Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 59 - Cell 2
61Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 60 - Cell 2
62Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 61 - Cell 2
63Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step FloorsRow 62 - Cell 2
64Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-ScottRow 63 - Cell 2
65Sam Bewley (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 64 - Cell 2
66Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 66 - Cell 2
68Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 68 - Cell 2
70Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-SegafredoRow 69 - Cell 2
71Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 72 - Cell 2
74Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-JumboRow 74 - Cell 2
76Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team EmiratesRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-SegafredoRow 77 - Cell 2
79Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 79 - Cell 2
81François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 80 - Cell 2
82Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 81 - Cell 2
83Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 82 - Cell 2
84Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 83 - Cell 2
85Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 84 - Cell 2
86Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 85 - Cell 2
87Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Eugert Zhupa (Alb) Wilier Triestina-Selle ItaliaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Roy Curvers (Ned) Team SunwebRow 90 - Cell 2
92Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 91 - Cell 2
93Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 92 - Cell 2
94Benjamin King (USA) Dimension DataRow 93 - Cell 2
95Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 94 - Cell 2
96Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 96 - Cell 2
98Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 97 - Cell 2
99Igor Anton (Spa) Dimension DataRow 98 - Cell 2
100Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 99 - Cell 2
101David De La Cruz (Spa) Team SkyRow 100 - Cell 2
102Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Fix AllRow 101 - Cell 2
103Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 102 - Cell 2
104Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 103 - Cell 2
105Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 104 - Cell 2
106Koen Bouwmam (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 105 - Cell 2
107Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
108Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 107 - Cell 2
109Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 108 - Cell 2
110Nathan Brown (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 109 - Cell 2
111Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 110 - Cell 2
112Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-AlpecinRow 111 - Cell 2
113Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
114Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team SunwebRow 113 - Cell 2
115Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 114 - Cell 2
116Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Fix AllRow 115 - Cell 2
117Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 116 - Cell 2
118Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 117 - Cell 2
119Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension DataRow 118 - Cell 2
120Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-SegafredoRow 119 - Cell 2
121Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 120 - Cell 2
122Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 121 - Cell 2
123Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 122 - Cell 2
124Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 123 - Cell 2
125Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 124 - Cell 2
126Marco Coledan (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle ItaliaRow 125 - Cell 2
127Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 126 - Cell 2
128Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team SunwebRow 127 - Cell 2
129Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle ItaliaRow 128 - Cell 2
130Ruben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 129 - Cell 2
131Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 130 - Cell 2
132Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors0:00:25
133Liam Bertazzo (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:00:30
134Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:38
135Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky0:00:40
136Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Fix All0:00:45
137Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:00:58
138Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:02
139Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 138 - Cell 2
140Jérémy Roy (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:01:05
141William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 140 - Cell 2
142Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 141 - Cell 2
143Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 142 - Cell 2
144Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 143 - Cell 2
145Svein Tuft (Can) Mitchelton-ScottRow 144 - Cell 2
146Chad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 145 - Cell 2
147Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 146 - Cell 2
148Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Fix AllRow 147 - Cell 2
149Alex Turrin (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle ItaliaRow 148 - Cell 2
150Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 149 - Cell 2
151Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 150 - Cell 2
152Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
153Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar TeamRow 152 - Cell 2
154Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 153 - Cell 2
155Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 154 - Cell 2
156Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle ItaliaRow 155 - Cell 2
157Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 156 - Cell 2
158Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) LottoNL-JumboRow 157 - Cell 2
159Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 158 - Cell 2
160Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 159 - Cell 2
161Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 160 - Cell 2
162Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 161 - Cell 2
163Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Fix AllRow 162 - Cell 2
164Steve Morabito (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 163 - Cell 2
165Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 164 - Cell 2
166Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 165 - Cell 2
167Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:01:17
168Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:25
169Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:01:33
170Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team SunwebRow 169 - Cell 2
171Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:01:54
172Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott0:02:18
173Giuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia0:03:25
174Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 173 - Cell 2
175Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky0:03:27
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Sprint 1 - Acre, 22km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec10pts
2Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Fix All6Row 1 - Cell 3