Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Mohoric wins Giro stage, Yates retains pink as Chaves drops away

Mohoric wins Giro stage, Yates retains pink as Chaves drops away

Simon Yates extended his lead.

Yates picked up three more seconds on the defending champion Tom Dumoulin by taking bonuses from the intermediate sprint, but his Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Esteban Chaves dropped from second to 39th, losing 25 minutes on innocuous terrain and claiming cryptically after the stage: "We've still got to understand my problems".

Chris Froome (Sky) finished safely in the pack and now sits two-and-a-half minutes off pink, though he moves up to 10th after Chaves's struggles.

Their sprint to the line was fiercely contested, but Mohoric had the strength to prevail.

Esteban Chaves has suffered a major setback at the Giro d'Italia
Esteban Chaves has suffered a major setback at the Giro d'Italia

What was expected to be a quiet transition stage - over the longest stage of the entire Giro - turned into a frantic day of racing after Chaves was dropped on the category two climb which opened the day's racing.

"I need more time on these sort of stages". Thats why I tried to drop him a few times before.

Dumoulin responded well to limit his losses, with Domenico Pozzovivo and Thibaut Pinot close behind, but Yates was able to sustain his tempo over the crest of the final climb to cross the line two seconds in front of the Dutchman, also picking up four bonus seconds for victory. Mohoric finished 34 seconds ahead of the main bunch, which led by Irish sprinter Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe.

The stage victor, Matej Mohoric, said: “Todays goal was to make the breakaway. First Quick-Step gave up the chase, and soon enough, Mitchelton-Scott let go as well, giving up on Chaves' GC hopes, and in the process, putting all their eggs in the Yates basket.

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"I had already circled this stage before the Giro started", Mohoric said.

"It was the most aggressive stage I ve seen for a while", said Yates. Im delighted that I have taken this opportunity.

"I was not confident to beat Nico Denz".

"One of those stages we will talk about for a while".

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Two of the five riders ahead of Bennett on GC - Richard Carapaz and Tom Dumoulin - both came to grief and required bike changes in the last 20 kilometres, but managed to get back to the peloton, leaving only Chaves as the major victim from the stage. I m not very good in a sprint from a slow speed so I launched and I increased my speed as much as I could.

Another hilly stage is scheduled for Wednesday with a 156km leg from Assisi to Osimo that concludes with a short but steep climb.

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