Yates gets skates on
Stretches lead in Giro
Simon Yates extended his lead in the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday with a solo finish giving him the 11th stage victory as fellow Briton Chris Froome lost more time.
The pink jersey wearer attacked on the final climb with a kilometre to ride to claim his second stage win this year, finishing two seconds ahead of defending champion Tom Dumoulin.
Italy’s Davide Formolo was third a further three seconds behind after the 156km hilly route from the central city of Assisi across to Osimo near the Adriatic coast.
Race favourite Froome again lost steam in the final climb with the four-time Tour de France winner finishing in 42nd position, some 40 seconds behind Yates.
The stage crossed through the home town of Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi who was killed in a road accident a year ago.
Three breakaway riders Alessandro De Marchi, Leon Sanchez and Fausto Masnada were caught five kilometres from the line before two steep climbs to the finish.
Yates, who is competing in his first Giro, has worn the leader’s jersey since the arrival at the volcanic Mount Etna in Sicily last Thursday.
The 25-year-old MitcheltonScott rider extends his lead on Dutchman Dumoulin by a further six seconds to 47sec.
Thursday’s 214km ride will be over a flat route from Osimo to Imola, two days before the gruelling mountain stage with a summit finish on Monte Zoncolan.
“It was an extremely difficult final,” Yates told Eurosport. “I’m super happy but would like a few easy days now before we get to the mountains.
“I need more time on these sort of stages. Because they are quite explosive, I can gain a second or two on Tom here. He’s a steady climber so it might be harder to drop him when we get to the longer climbs.
“Tom looks better than the other day on the steep finishes there. I think he’s getting better as the race goes on, and that’s not good news for me.”
Speaking afterwards, Froome said he would not pull out of the race and focus instead on winning a fifth Tour title in July.
“My crash before the opening stage in Jersualem took a whack out of me. I’ve had a lot of pain down my right-hand side, and if you’re not at your best, there is nowhere to hide,” Froome told Eurosport.
“I’m going to keep fighting - it’s good to get the racing in my legs and I’ve not given up hope. You saw with Esteban Chaves losing time on stage 10 how quickly this race can change so I’m going to keep plugging away.”
He added: “I’m genuinely happy for Simon. It’s amazing to see another Briton in the pink jersey.”
The man to beat: Simon Yates celebrates being fastest over the finishing line during Stage 11 on Wednesday.
Behind the leading pack: Brit Chris Froome (c) finished the day in 42nd place.