Mo­horic on the mark but Yates stays ahead

Bri­ton stretches lead to 41 sec­onds on a stage de­cided by thrilling sprint

Sport360 - - Giro D’italia - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

Matej Mo­horic beat Nico Denz in a two-man sprint fin­ish to win the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tues­day as Bri­ton Si­mon Yates main­tained his grip on the over­all race lead.

But Yates’s Colom­bian team­mate Este­ban Chaves had a dis­as­trous day as he was dis­tanced on the open­ing climb of the 244km stage from Penne to Gualdo Tadino and lost more than 25 min­utes to drop out of over­all con­tention hav­ing started the day sec­ond at 32sec.

“It was the most ag­gres­sive stage I’ve seen for a while,” said Yates. “This usu­ally hap­pens in short stages only.

“But this was a long and fe­ro­cious race. The high speed never stopped. I first thought Este­ban Chaves would be able to come back but it was a re­ally crazy stage and I’m very dis­ap­pointed for him as I know he’s worked very hard for this.

“I’d pre­fer him still to be there, so we had more cards to play and tac­tics in the fi­nal. I’m not scared of the third week; I’m scared of the time trial. I know I’ll lose some time there.”

Chaves’s woes are a ma­jor blow to the over­all hopes of his Mitchel­tonS­cott team.

Go­ing into Tues­day’s stage they were in the en­vi­able po­si­tion of oc- cu­py­ing the top two po­si­tions in the over­all stand­ings, mean­ing tac­ti­cally they would be able to play two cards in the pink jersey race and in­crease the pres­sure on their ri­vals.

But once Chaves was dis­tanced, the teams of over­all hope­fuls in­clud­ing four-time Tour de France win­ner Chris Froome, reign­ing cham­pion Tom Du­moulin, lo­cal favourite Fabio Aru and French hope Thibaut Pinot, pushed the pace in the pelo­ton to en­sure the Colom­bian never re­gained con­tact.

Yates now leads by 41 sec­onds from Du­moulin with Pinot third at 46sec. Bri­ton Froome, who crashed twice dur­ing the first week, is up to 10th at 2:30.

The fast pace set by the pelo­ton meant that an ini­tial 17-man break­away was swal­lowed up with still 150km to ride.

Solo at­tempts by Ger­man Tony Martin and Ital­ian Marco Frap­porti proved fu­tile un­til fi­nally a late es­cape by Slovene Mo­horic and Ger­man Denz stuck.

Their sprint to the line was fiercely con­tested but BahrainMerida’s Mo­horic had the strength to pre­vail.

“I’m de­lighted that I have taken this op­por­tu­nity,” said Slove­nian Mo­horic.

“I wasn’t con­vinced I’d win the sprint against Nico Denz. I’m not very good in a sprint from a slow speed so I launched and I in­creased my speed as much as I could.

“Our main goal re­mains to help (Domenico) Poz­zo­vivo for the best over­all rank­ing pos­si­ble.”

Ire­land’s Sam Ben­nett won the sprint for third 36sec later.

Wed­nes­day’s 11th stage will be raced on a hilly route of 156 km from the cen­tral city of As­sisi across to Osimo near the Adri­atic coast.

“It was the most ag­gres­sive stage I’ve seen for a while” – Yates

Mighty Mo­horic: Matej (r) edged a two-man sprint with Nico Denz (l) to win the 10th stage be­tween Penne and Gualdo Tadino.

Si­mon says: Yates is now more than 40 sec­onds ahead.

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