Sappada - Britain's
Simon Yates soloed to a third victory within a week on the 15th stage
of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday to extend his overall lead as the race
heads into the final stretch.
But Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who won on Saturday's Monte
Zoncolan summit finish, lost more time on the 176km Dolomites stage
from Tolmezzo to Sappada, slipping to seventh overall and nearly five
minutes behind his countryman.
Mitchelton-Scott's Yates launched his attack 17km from the finish
line on the penultimate climb and held on to add to his previous
victories on the ninth stage at Gran Sasso and 11th at Osimo.
He crossed the line 41 seconds ahead of a group led by Colombian
Miguel Angel Lopez of the Astana Pro Team, with Team Sunweb's Tom
Dumoulin of the Netherlands in third.
"My attack was a little bit on instinct," explained Yates.
"I saw a little gap. I gave everything the second time to get away. It's fantastic."
Defending champion Dumoulin is second overall but drops to 2:11
behind Yates going into the final week with the race finishing in Rome
Monday's final rest day will be followed by a time-trial at Rovereto
on Tuesday where Dutchman Dumoulin is expected to gain time.
"I feel emotional after today. I've been fighting since Israel to build a good lead," said Yates.
"I'm happy with the gap I have now but it's far from over. It could vanish in 35km."
Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo finished fourth and is third overall, 2:28 behind Yates, with France's Thibaut Pinot of Groupama fourth
overall at 2:37.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome struggled on the fourth and
final climb in the Dolomites losing a minute and a half to spoil his
33rd birthday celebrations.
Froome, helped by team-mate Wout Poels who had already proved so
valuable on Monte Zoncolan, tried to claw back time on the overall
leaders but was unable to match the change of the pace on the ascent to
The reigning Vuelta a Espana champion dropped from fifth to seventh
overall and is now 4:52 behind 25-year-old 'King of the Mountains'
But will Yates' advantage be enough in Tuesday's time trial?
"I really don't know," he said.
France's Pinot believes the Englishman has done the essential though.
"Yates is untouchable unless he has a major failure," said Pinot.
"It was better than yesterday at the Zoncolan," he added.
days like this ... Today, the slopes corresponded more to me."
But Pinot lamented a damaging battle between Lopez and Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz for the best young rider's white jersey.
"There was the squabble between Carapaz and Lopez for the white
jersey, they were eye-balling each other, they condemned our little
group a little," said Pinot, who is fourth overall just behind
"Maybe we could have caught up with Yates and especially taken time on the others," added the Frenchman.
Results and standings after the Giro d'Italia 15th stage on Sunday, a 176km run from Tolmezzo to Sappada in the Dolomites:
1. Simon Yates (GBR/Mitchelton) 4hr 37min 55sec, 2. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) at 41sec, 3. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 41, 4. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 41, 5. Richard Carapaz (ECU/MOV) 41, 6. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 41, 7. Alexandre Geniez (FRA/ALM) 1:20, 8. Davide Formolo (ITA/BOR) 1:20, 9. Pello Bilbao (ESP/AST) 1:20, 10. Sam Oomen (NED/SUN) 1:20
17. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) at 1min 32sec
1. Simon Yates (GBR/Mitchelton) 65hrs 57mins 37sec, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) at 2min 11sec, 3. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 2:28., 4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 2:37., 5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) 4:27., 6. Richard Carapaz (ECU/MOV) 4:47., 7. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) 4:52., 8. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 5:34., 9. Pello Bilbao (ESP/AST) 5:59., 10. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOR) 6:13.