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Sunweb had little intention of defending Dumoulin's pink jersey so early, and none of the top sprinters kept themselves close enough in the time trial to take advantage of bonus seconds.

Elia Viviani, pictured here, took his second straight race win in stage three of the Giro d'Italia in Italy today.

"It gets a bit nerve wracking, they're quite excited about such a big race being in their country and it's actually quite a special feeling being a part of that as well".

The cyclists passed Israel's parliament, the Supreme Court, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University on their route through the city.

The historic opening of the race concluded just as the previous one ended, with Dumoulin grabbing the overall lead in an individual time trial.

Having previously held the race leader s jersey at both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, this was the first time Dennis had managed to hold onto one for more than a day.

"Rémi [Cavagna] took the responsibility on his shoulders and closed the breakaway, Styby [Zdenek Stybar] brought us to the front, then Florian [Sénéchal] took over with two kilometres to go before Michael [Mørkøv] and Saba [Fabio Sabatini] dropped me in the closing kilometre".

"When I first started cycling, I never thought that I would wear all Grand Tour leaders' jerseys. The course was hard but absolutely flawless for me". "For me, Israel has already won this race, as it afforded hundreds of millions of TV spectators to see our handsome country, and feel the warmth of our people, bearing witness that Israel is a diverse, open, free and safe country". The Giro is still very long. Who knew there wouldn't be any roadside spectators in the middle of a desert?

The second leg of the race stretches 167 kilometers (104 miles) down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Israel's Kristian Sbaragli grabbed 12th place, with Guy Sagiv finishing 35th and Guy Niv finishing 122nd, prior to Sunday's stage through Israel's expansive Negev desert.

"It was a stressful day and in the end it was a lot of effort to stay out of trouble and away from the splits towards the finish line", said 27-year-old Dennis, who has finished only two of six previous Grand Tours.

Froome remains in the top 20 with a 38sec deficit to Dennis ahead of Monday's rest day before the fourth stage begins in Catania following the transfer from Israel to Sicily.