Italy’s Elia Viviani won a thrilling final sprint to take the second stage of the Giro d’Italia in Tel Aviv.
Quick-Step Floors rider Viviani came from a long way back to hit the front with 100m to go and cross the line ahead of fellow Italian Jakub Mareczko.
Australian Rohan Dennis, of BMC Racing, takes the overall race lead from defending champion Tom Dumoulin after the 167km stage from Haifa.
Dennis finished in the peloton and will wear the pink jersey on Sunday.
He claimed three bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint after superb work by his team-mates to overcome his two-second deficit from Friday’s opening time trial in Jerusalem, where he was second to Dumoulin.
“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.
“It was the result of massive teamwork. I think Viviani sprinted but didn’t go full gas so it was good to see him get the stage win after, not exactly gifting me the intermediate sprint, but he was kind, let’s be honest.”
Dennis leads by one second from Dumoulin with Belgian Victor Campenaerts third, three seconds back.
Campenaerts, who also began the stage two seconds behind Dumoulin, had tried to get in the day’s break with his sights set on the pink jersey but Dennis’ BMC Racing team kept chasing down his breaks in an intriguing opening as the race hugged the Mediterranean coastline, clearly having their own ambitions.
Britain’s Chris Froome finished safely in the peloton along with his rivals for the overall race win on a day that was set up for a bunch sprint.
It was all a little chaotic as the route through Tel Aviv’s city centre featured several right-angled corners, including one in the final kilometre.
Viviani was expected to be led onto the final straight by a strong squad, assembled to help him win stages and he delivered, despite losing his lead-out man.
He was around 25th when he rounded the final corner but fought his way up to Mareczko’s wheel before easing past in the closing stages.
“The win, everyone was expecting but doing it is never easy,” said Viviani.
Ireland’s Sam Bennett, riding for Bora-Hansgrohe, claimed third place.