Diego Ulissi of Lampre-Merida has won his second stage of the 99th edition of the Giro d'Italia - and the sixth of his career - after following an attack by the two riders at the top of the general classification and outsprinting them to win in Asolo this afternoon.
Race leader Bob Jungels of Etixx-Quick Step had responded to a move from second overall Andrey Amador of Movistar on the descent from the day's sole categorised climb, crested 20 kilometres out.
Amador's attack came immediately after a move by his Movistar team mate Alejandro Valverde, Astana's Vincenzo Nibali and Esteban Chaves of Orica-GreenEdge had been shut down.
Joined by Ulissi in the closing kilometres, the trio kept clear of their pursuers on a series of smaller, uncategorised climbs at the end of the 227km stage from Modena, flat early on but packing a deceptively strong punch in its tail.
Amador finished second on the stage to reduce his deficit to Jungels, third today, by 4 seconds to 22 second, and time bonuses mean each extend their advantage over their rivals for the overall win.
"I'm really happy," said Ulissi. "It's the result of an enormous team work. Everybody was kind of tired at the end. I was concerned about Amador but I've done it again. It's great."
Jungels also paid tribute to his colleagues, saying: "I want to say thank you to everyone in the team.
"I didn't know the Maglia Rosa could give me so much power and inspiration. When I saw the opportunity to get away from the group of favourites, I made my move.
"At the end I tried to gain as many seconds as I could in order to keep the Maglia Rosa as long as I can."
Ahead of the Category 4 Forcella Mostaccin climb, where the final survivor of the day's break, IAM's Vegard Stake Laengen, was swept up, a big crash split the peloton.
Among those to lose time was AG2R's Domenico Pozzovivo, who had been in 11th place overall this morning.
Earlier in the day, Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin, who spent five day's in the maglia rosa in the opening week, abandoned due to the saddle sores that have made riding very painful for him in recent days.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.