Guillaume Boivin may not have won Saturday’s Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia in Tel Aviv, Israel–that went to Elia Viviani–but Israel Cycling Academy’s Canadian was conspicuous on the day. Boivin joined the 101st edition’s first breakaway, just missed out on its first mountains jersey and attacked solo in the latter half of the course. Rohan Dennis (Australia/BMC), second place on Friday’s opening time trial and keeping Tom Dumoulin’s purple points jersey warm, took bonus seconds on the course to assume the race lead from the Dutchman. Dennis becomes one of four active cyclists who have led all three Grand Tours, along with Mark Cavendish, Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali.

He had to come from a long way back, but Elia Viviani won his second career Giro stage in Tel Aviv. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

The Course

It was a day that promised both a bunch sprint finish in Tel Aviv and a breakaway out hunting for the first mountain classification leader’s jersey. Near the midpoint of the 167-km stage was the course’s sole Cat. 4 climb. Again, it was a hot day.

The Flying B’s Breakaway

It would be Boivin flying the flag for Israel Cycling Academy in the breakaway, along with Davide Ballerini (Italy/Androni-Sidermec) and Dane Lars Bak (Lotto-Fix All), known collectively as the Flying B’s.

Boivin was third in the first intermediate sprint of the day, which came soon after he reached the two others in the breakaway. Their gap never exceeded 3:30 as Sunweb, Wilier-Trestina, BMC and Quick Step all contributed to the peloton’s pace making.

The climb was called Zikhron Ya’aqov and chaos reigned supreme on its slopes with no one reining in the crowds. The BMC-led peloton drew closer to the break as the Cat. 4 approached, the bunch’s interest in the second intermediate sprint soon after. The Flying B’s would not survive the climb–Enrico Barbin of Bardiani flashed over from the peloton and edged out Boivin to lay claim to the first blue climber’s jersey at the end of the day.

Dennis Nabs Pink, Boivin Goes Again

It was a strange situation: there were still 75-km remaining with the bonus seconds of the intermediate sprint 14-km up the road. Domestiques toiled to keep their teams hydrated.

BMC delivered Rohan Dennis to the line where the Australian, second-place overnight, earned three bonus seconds to propel him into the race lead. This will sit well with Sunweb, which doesn’t want to defend the pink jersey for three whole weeks.

Boivin hadn’t had enough; he attacked with 52-km to go. Cutting a lone furrow, Boivin racked up a 1:24 lead with 34-km remaining.

The Catch and the Sprint

Boivin submitted to the will of the Quick Step-led peloton with 16.5-km remaining. The GC men tried to stay protected and the colour blocks organized on the wide roads heading to the coast. It was a tricky run-in as the roads narrowed and widened again. Ninety-degree turns loomed.

Attacks in the final 5-km couldn’t stay clear. Viviani had to dig himself out of big hole by latching on to Jakub Mareczko’s wheel but Quick Step’s fast man took his second career Giro victory.

Michael Woods was top Canadian on Saturday, finishing 32nd, and he remains top Canadian on GC at 63rd.

Sunday’s last stage in Israel is another one for the sprinters.

2018 Giro d’Italia Stage 2
1) Elia Viviani (Italy/Quick Step) 3:51:20
2) Jakub Mareczko (Italy/Wilier-Trestina) s.t.
3) Sam Bennett (Ireland/Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
32) Michael Woods (Canada/EF-Drapac) s.t.
145) Svein Tuft (Canada/Mitchelton-Scott) +1:05
166) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Cycling Academy) s.t.

2018 Giro d’Italia GC

1) Rohan Dennis (Australia/BMC) 4:03:21
2) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:01
3) Victor Campenaerts (Belgium/Lotto-Fix All) +0:03
63) Michael Woods (Canada/EF-Drapac) +1:03
159) Svein Tuft (Canada/Mitchelton-Scott) +2:31
165) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Cycling Academy) +2:47

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