Viviani secures back-to-back stage wins in Eilat

Elia Viviani wins Stage 2 as Rohan Dennis takes pink

Giro d'Italia 2018 standings: Rohan Dennis takes the lead as Elia Viviani wins stage two

Niall Anderson is covering every stage of the Giro d'Italia live for the Herald. Should stand. With AP Photos. The riders were aided by a strong wind and eventually the race was won by Elia Viviani for the second day in a row.

Dumoulin was the last of the 175 riders to start the stage and finished the 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) time trial in 12 minutes, 2 seconds to claim the pink jersey.

Sunday's route was the second-longest leg of the 21-day race.

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) entered the stage with the lead in the general classification, holding one second over defending Giro champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb).

The third stage also looked likely to culminate in a sprint, and stage two's victory Elia Viviani (Quick-Step) would fancy his chances of taking a second stage win of the race and a third career victory at the Giro d'Italia.

Stage 3 will follow a lengthy 229-kilometer (143-mile) route on Sunday from Beersheba in the Negev desert down to Israel's southern tip of Eilat along the Red Sea.

After a tiresome stage through the desert, the final 5km saw the touch paper lit with a brutally fast pace set by Quick-Step Floors into the sprint finish.

"The pressure was off after yesterday's win".

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"The team rode for me in the 30km before the intermediate sprint and delivered me perfectly", said Dennis, who beat Viviani in that race within the race. "I've got the best lead-out team for the sprints so I don't really care who I am up against".

When I found out a few days ago that I was off third last today, in between Chris Froome and former world time trial champion Tony Martin, my cousin Eric reassured me that at least if I wasn't going well the cameras would probably be focused on the other two anyway. He is now 19th, 38 seconds behind the leader.

"It sewed the first seeds of thought about changing teams but that wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, it was at the end of the season and discovering that Froome would be riding the Giro and once again I might be excluded".

The catch was made with ten kilometres to go, and just as the teams began fighting for position, some riders chose to attack and see if they could foil the sprinters' plans.

"They took to the race really well and supported us like they were a really big cycling country, which was really nice", he said.

Israel Cycling Academy's Guillaume Boivin was cheered on by the home crowd as the Canadian, along with Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), led the race from the start.

Riders will now transfer to Italy tomorrow, following the controversial Big Start in Israel.

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