Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates wins stage nine to extend lead as Chris Froome fades

Simon Yates wins stage nine
Simon Yates has successfully defended the leader’s pink jersey for three successive days

Britain’s Simon Yates stormed to a superb win on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia to extend his lead in the general classification as compatriot Chris Froome lost more time.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, 25, accelerated away with 100m to go on the summit finish to Gran Sasso d’Italia.

He now has a 32-second lead over team-mate Esteban Chaves, with reigning champion Tom Dumoulin 38 seconds back.

Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates wins stage nine to extend lead as Chris Froome fades
Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates wins stage nine to extend lead as Chris Froome fades

Team Sky’s Froome is two minutes 27 seconds down in 11th place.

Monday is the second rest day of the race, which finishes in Rome on 27 May.

This was Yates’ first stage win at a Giro and it brought him a bonus 10 seconds on top of the 12 he put into Dumoulin.

But it was the manner of the win on the 225km route from Pesco Sannita that was arguably more important, the day a real test of his credentials as he seeks his first Grand Tour win – and one he passed in wonderful fashion.

After a 12-man break had gone away early, the last survivor was swallowed up with 3km to go and the real race began.

Yates was happy to sit in the wheels as first Guilio Ciccone and then Thibault Pinot attacked into a stiff headwind, but came out of their slipstream to go clear and celebrate with a clenched fist as he crossed the line.

It was another chastening day for Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion spat out the back of the small lead group and losing 67 seconds to Yates.

He had looked short of his best throughout the first week, twice crashing, and this was further evidence that his bid to become only the third rider in history to win three Grand Tours in a row is in real trouble.

Dutchman Dumoulin will perhaps be less concerned, the time trial on stage 16 offering him the chance to perhaps take as much as a minute and a half out of Yates.

But with Yates able to count on the support of Colombian team-mate Chaves, the man from Bury will be starting to believe this could his race.

“That one was for the boys who’ve been riding on the front all day – they’ve had a couple of tough days, always riding on the front on some really long stages,” said Yates.

“From the beginning of the stage today, we were always thinking that if we kept the break close enough then it might be possible for the stage.

“Once Astana showed some interest in the stage then I knew it was possible, but you never know deep into the final.

“It was a very difficult day. Chris crashed yesterday; maybe he was affected by that.”

Team Sky sporting director Nicolas Portal said: “It’s not perfect. He was looking good the last couple of days but we have to stay optimistic.

“We have two more weeks coming up and hopefully we have some better days. Let’s hope that we can quickly forget this stage – they will keep fighting, and they won’t give up.”

Stage nine result:

1 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 5hrs 54mins 13secs

2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) same time

3 Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott)

4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +4secs

5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) same time

6 Davide Formolo (Ita/Bora-Hansgrohe) +10secs

7 George Bennett (Nzl/Lotto NL-Jumbo) +12secs

8 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) same time

9 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team)

10 Giulio Ciccone (Ita/Bardiani CSF) +24secs

General classification

1 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 37hrs 37mins 15secs

2 Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott) +32secs

3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +38secs

4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +45secs

5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +57secs

6 Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) +1min 20secs

7 George Bennett (Nzl/Lotto NL-Jumbo) +1min 33secs

8 Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing) +2mins 5secs

9 Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) same time

10 Michael Woods (Can/EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale) +2mins 25secs

11 Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +2mins 27secs

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