Italian rider Elia Viviani won a second consecutive stage of the Giro d’Italia in Eilat on Sunday, as Australia’s Rohan Dennis retained the overall lead.
Having claimed victory in a dramatic sprint finish on Saturday, Viviani again left it late to win the 229km third stage from Be’er Sheva.
The Quick-Step Floors rider pipped fellow Italian Sacha Modolo on the line to assert his sprint dominance.
Dennis of BMC Racing keeps the pink jersey after finishing in the peloton.
Ireland’s Sam Bennett was a challenger once again in the final sprint as he came off the last corner in the lead.
But Viviani, 29, was right on his wheel and, despite almost being pushed into the barriers by a veering Bennett, kept his nerve to take the third Giro stage win of his career as the Irishman was forced into third.
“I won and so don’t want to start a polemic. He [Bennett] moved big time,” said Viviani.
“We made contact but I went through. He went on the left and so I went on the right but then he moved across the road.”
Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands is second in the general classification, one second behind Dennis.
British Team Sky rider Chris Froome finished in the peloton. Fellow Briton Simon Yates, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, continued his good start to the race and came through another day without any hiccups to sit sixth overall.
Team Katusha Alpecin rider Alex Dowsett is the highest-placed Brit in fourth, courtesy of the stage one time trial, but will not challenge for the general classification title.
Three riders made an early break on stage three and Guillaume Boivin of Israel Cycling Academy, who rode out the front on stage two, was involved once again.
This time he was joined by Marco Frapporti of the Androni-Sidermec team and Enrico Barbin of Bardiani – and the trio established a two-minute lead.
They spent almost 225km in the lead in temperatures in well over 30C before they were swallowed up by a charging peloton with 6km to go.
The tour now heads to Sicily for stage four, which sees the riders tackle 198km from Catania to Caltagirone.