The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Cycling, Giro d'Italia: Leader Yates gains time on closest rival Dumoulin after winning 11th stage

Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 19:30 Last update: about 3 years ago

Overall leader Simon Yates gained a few more seconds on closest rival Tom Dumoulin by winning the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider attacked with about 1.5 kilometers remaining in the 156-kilometer leg from Assisi to Osimo and held off Dumoulin on the steep climb to earn his second stage victory of the race.

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome lost more time on the leaders and his chances of winning are disappearing.

Dumoulin, who is a time-trial specialist, was two seconds behind Yates in second. Davide Formolo was third, five seconds behind Yates.

Yates now leads Dumoulin by 47 seconds. He is 1:04 ahead of Thibaut Pinot in third.

"I'm trying to get more time. That was a really tough finish. Tom was chasing me all the way to the line," Yates said. "Really difficult but happy I could get more time. I already have a good gap to Froome. I'm happy that I got more time on Tom. But I have to keep trying because I still don't have enough."

Froome finished 40 seconds behind Yates to again slip out of the top 10. He is more than three minutes behind.

"I'm definitely not going to lie, it took a whack out of me that crash before the start in Jerusalem and in this game if you're not at your absolute best there's nowhere to hide," Froome said. "I feel as if I've been progressing throughout the race, still just chipping away and hoping to do the best I can. I'm going to keep fighting."

Froome is trying to become the third person to win the three Grand Tour titles in a row.

"I certainly haven't given up hope," Froome said. "I'm going to keep plugging away. I'm motivated, the team's motivated and we're going to do as much as we can."

The hilly stage included a climb through Michele Scarponi's hometown of Filottrano in honor of the 2012 Giro winner who died after a collision with a van while training shortly before last year's race.

There were a number of early attacks but nothing stuck until Luis Leon Sanchez and Alessandro De Marchi took off. They were swiftly joined by Fausto Masnada.

Mirco Maestri and Alex Turrin made it over to the leaders with about 100 kilometers remaining and the gap hovered around 3½ minutes. The latter two were caught with 17 kilometers to go, while Sanchez and De Marchi lasted until five kilometers from the end.

Zdenek Stybar and Tim Wellens attacked and opened up a small gap late in the race but couldn't respond when Yates made his move.

Thursday's 12th stage is a flat, 214-kilometer route from Osimo to the motorsport race circuit of Imola.

After another flat stage, the race features a climb up Monte Zoncolan on Saturday and a grueling leg through the Dolomite Range on Sunday.

The race ends in Rome on May 27.

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