Simon Yates has won his second stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia today to tighten his grip on the Maglia Rosa as the race passes its halfway point.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider attacked with 1.5 kilometres of today’s Stage 11 from Assisi to Osino and on a tough final climb passed lone leader Tim Wellens of Lotto-Fix All.
Defending champion Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb tried to close Yates down, but finished 2 seconds behind the Lancashire rider and is currently 47 seconds behind him in in second place in the overall standings.
While there are still 10 stages remaining, Yates and Dumoulin are widely seen as the men most likely to battle it out for the final victory in Rome a week on Monday.
The Dutch rider, who is reigning world time trial champion, will have an opportunity to take time from Yates on next Tuesday’s 32.4 kilometre test against the clock on next Tuesday’s Stage 16.
The Lancashire man is likely to need at least double his current advantage to offset any potential losses on that day.
Five mountain stages starting with a summit finish on the Zoncolan on Saturday give him plenty of opportunity to do that , should his form hold, although going into the second half of a Grand Tour as leader is of course uncharted territory for the 25-year-old.
Chris Froome’s hopes of winning the Giro d’Italia to add to his Tour de France and Vuelta titles took a further blow today, with the Team Sky rider distanced on the last climb and losing a further 50 seconds to Yates once the stage winner’s bonus seconds are taken into account.
The Team Sky rider now slips to 12th overall, three minutes and 20 seconds off the race lead.
Following his victory, Yates said: “We decided before the stage that we wouldn't chase because normally on such a finale there are faster guys like Tim Wellens.
“Other teams did that for the stage win. The plan was that if it came back I would, of course, try.
“I'm glad to be getting more time on Tom Dumoulin. He was chasing me and he looked better than other days on steep finishes. He's getting better as the race goes on.”
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.