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Giro d'Italia 2018: Elia Viviani sprints to victory on Stage 2

Quick-Step Floors notch up another win as Viviani proves too good for sprint rivals

Martin James
5 May 2018

Quick-Step Floors sprinter Elia Viviani produced a perfectly timed sprint to win Stage 2 if the 2018 Giro d'Italia in Tel Aviv today. After a technical run-in that saw the sprint trains struggle to impose themselves, the Italian found himself well out of position entering the final 500m drag to the line, but showed why he was the pre-stage favourite for victory by following his rivals' wheels and pounce at the perfect moment.

Second across the line was Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Triestina), with Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) third. 

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) took over the pink jersey from overnight leader Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) after claiming the bonus seconds on offer at one of the intermediate sprints earlier in the day. 

How the stage unfolded

After yesterday’s 9.7km time-trial through the streets of Jerusalem, day two of the Giro’s Israeli escape took the peloton north out of Haifa on the Mediterranean coast before turning inland and doubling back southwards to finish in Tel Aviv.

With just a single climb and a pair of intermediate sprints to negotiate along the way, it looked a fairly straightfoarward assignment on paper, with potential crosswinds likely to be a bigger threat on the open roads than anything thrown up by the course itself.

The Middle Eastern backdrop may have been an unfamiliar one for this Italian Grand Tour, but there was nothing unfamiliar about the first phase of the real racing once the riders had cleared the neutralised zone on the outskirts of Haifa.

Predictably, the moment the flag dropped an Israel Cycling Academy rider tried – and failed – to go clear. That ushered in the usual wave of attacks and counter-attacks as the riders tried to come uap with a group that the peloton would be happy to let go clear.

By the 10km mark Davide Ballerini (Adroni) and Lars Bak (Lotto Fix All) had managed to open a gap, and when Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) joined them, the break was established.

Even then, the gap never grew beyond three minutes. Back in the peloton, BMC Racing were now riding hard on the front, looking to bring Dennis – who started the day second overall, just one second behind Dumoulin – into play at the second intermediate sprint.

The plan worked to perfection. The breakaway riders were quickly caught, but BMC continued to push on, and duly delivered Dennis to the line for the Australian to take the sprint, and the virtual maglia rosa with it. For his part, Dumoulin looked unconcerned – his focus is on being in the pink jersey in Rome, not Tel Aviv.

Their job for the day done, BMC disappeared back into the peloton, and so Boivin had another go, this time on his own, giving his team a bit more TV exposure before being swallowed up again as the sprint trains started jockeying for position.

Image: Quick-Step Floors 

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