Aussie claims second in historic Giro opener
DEFENDING champion Tom Dumoulin has won the opening stage of the 101st Giro d'Italia, edging out Australia's Rohan Dennis by two seconds to claim the pink jersey.
The Dutchman from Team Sunweb was the last of the 175 riders to start and finished the 9.7km time trial in 12 minutes, two seconds.
Thousands of spectators lined Jerusalem's streets to watch the first Grand Tour cycling race ever held outside Europe.
The cyclists passed Israel's parliament, Supreme Court, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University on their route through Jerusalem.
The historic opening of the race concluded just as the previous one ended, with Dumoulin grabbing the overall lead in an individual time trial.
Dumoulin chased down BMC Racing team leader Dennis, to win the opening stage. Victor Campenaerts of Lotto Soudal finished third with the same time as Dennis.
"This is all I wished, the win and quite a lot of time on the other GC riders," Dumoulin said.
"I knew I was ready for the Giro but I wasn't sure I'd win today. The course was hard but absolutely perfect for me."
Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome finished 37 seconds behind in 21st place.
The British cyclist crashed during a training run ahead of Friday's opening stage, drawing blood around his right knee and ripping his shorts and jersey.
Froome, who won both the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta last year, is looking to become only the third person ever to win the three Grand Tour titles in a row.
The second leg of the race stretches 167km down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv.
Stage three will follow a 229-km route from Beersheba in the Negev desert down to Israel's southern tip of Eilat along the Red Sea.
The race will then transfer to Italy, and the island of Sicily, for an early rest day on Monday. The Giro will end in Rome on May 27.
1. Tom Dumoulin, Netherlands, Team Sunweb, 12 minutes, 2 seconds.
2. Rohan Dennis, Australia, BMC Racing Team, 2 seconds behind.
3. Victor Campenaerts, Belgium, Lotto Soudal, same time.
4. Jose Goncalves, Portugal, Katusha-Alpecin, 12.
5. Alex Dowsett, Britain, Katusha-Alpecin, 16.
6. Pello Bilbao, Spain, Astana Pro Team, 18.
7. Simon Yates, Britain, Mitchelton-Scott, 20.
8. Maximilian Schachmann, Germany, Quick-Step Floors, 21.
9. Tony Martin, Germany, Katusha-Alpecin, 27.
10. Domenico Pozzovivo, Italy, Bahrain-Merida, same time.
21. Chris Froome, Britain, Team Sky, 37.