Quick Step Floors sprinter Elia Viviani has won his second successive stage of the Giro d'Italia in Eilat this afternoon as the three-day Grand Start in Israel concluded.
BMC Racing's Rohan Dennis retains the overall lead at the end of the 229-kilometre stage through the Negev Desert from Be'er Sheva today.
With around 50 kilometres remaining, Viviani had to battle back to the peloton after sustaining a puncture.
As happened yesterday in Tel Aviv, he left his sprint for the line late and had to fight to stay upright as Irish rider Sam Bennett of Bora-Hangrohe went shoulder to shoulder with the Italian.
Bennett finished third on the stage, with Team EF Education First-Drapac rider Sacha Modolo second.
Following the stage, Viviani said: "In the first two hours of racing I felt very bad. The pressure was off after yesterday's win. But I felt better later on. I have competed in the classics so I was ready for 230 kilometres today.
"We followed our plan. We only missed Sabatini because he had a flat tyre. But the final straight was good for me.”
Dennis commented: “It feels good to retain the Maglia Rosa. It's been a stressful day though. In the end, it's been a maximum effort to stay out of trouble and away from the splits.
"Campenaerts paid the price for his efforts to take the jersey but he did well. In Sicily, I'll take it day by day and try to stay in pink as long as possible.”
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.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.