Monday 21 May 2018

Froome slips off pace as Yates extends his advantage

Chris Froome: Losing time. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Chris Froome: Losing time. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Simon Yates extended his overall lead in the Giro d'Italia to more than half a minute with victory on stage nine at Gran Sasso d'Italia.

Yates pounced in the final 100m of a climb that finished above the snow line to beat Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and his Michelton-Scott team-mate Esteban Chaves, putting him 32 seconds clear of Chaves in the standings going into today's second rest day.

But it was another bad day for Team Sky's Chris Froome, who failed to hang on to a five-strong group two kilometres from the finish, sliding out of the overall top 10 as a result and losing more than a minute on Yates.

"I was having a tough, tough day," said Froome, who crashed on the uphill finish on Saturday.

"I've definitely had a rough start to this Giro. So today I was just trying to hang on as best I could, make it to the rest day tomorrow and then re-evaluate the position from there."

Yates has held the race leader's pink jersey since stage six, when he finished second behind Chaves on the slopes of Mount Etna.

Here he timed his run to perfection, forming a four-strong chase when Italian Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) attempted to break clear towards the end of the 225km stage from Pesco Sannita.

Emotion

Pinot, Chaves and stage eight winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar) went with him, with Yates going around Pinot in the final moments to claim a victory he greeted with evident emotion.

As a result of his efforts Chaves moved up to second place in the overall standings, demoting Holland's defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) into third, 38 seconds behind.

"That was for the boys, the big guys who ride on the front all day," Yates said.

"They've had a couple of tough days, always riding on the front for some very long stages, so that's for those guys.

"From the beginning of the stage we always looked to think maybe if we keep the breakaway close enough there might be a possibility for the stage.

"Once Astana showed interest, I thought it was possible then, but you never know really deep in the final."

Irish Independent

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