Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates takes overall lead as Esteban Chaves wins stage six

Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates

Yates (R) finished in the wheel tracks of Colombian team-mate Chaves, who took his second Giro stage win and first of 2018

Britain’s Simon Yates stormed into the overall lead in the Giro d’Italia as team-mate Esteban Chaves won stage six.

Yates, 26, attacked in the last two kilometres of the 163km stage to Mount Etna with his rivals for the general classification unable to react.

He now leads from reigning champion Tom Dumoulin by 16 seconds, with Chaves 26 seconds back.

Chris Froome sits eighth, one minute 10 seconds behind his compatriot, after crossing the line in the second group.

All the talk in the build-up to this race had been of Froome’s bid to make history as only the third man to win three of cycling’s Grand Tours in a row.

But Bury’s Yates rode away from him – as well as Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot – with blistering ease, bridging across to his Michelton-Scott team-mate Chaves who had broken away with 6km to go.

Australian Rohan Dennis had taken a one-second advantage into the stage, but fell away in the final climb to cede the maglia rosa.

Yates becomes only the fourth Briton to wear the pink jersey in the Giro after Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and David Millar.

It is the one Grand Tour that no Briton has ever won, and with 15 stages still to come before the race finishes in Rome Yates will expect that jersey to come under tremendous pressure, not least from Dumoulin on the time-trial on stage 16.

But for now he can celebrate, the big winner on the spectacular 15km ascent of Etna.

“It felt really good,” Yates told Eurosport. “There was a little bit of a gap, so I took the chance.

“I said to him [Chaves] as soon as I caught him that he could take the stage. He deserved it.”

Stage six result:

1 Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott) 4hrs 16mins 10secs

2 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) Same time

3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +26secs

4 George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL-Jumbo) Same time

5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida)

6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team)

7 Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar Team)

8 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb)

9 Fabio Aru (Ita/UAE Team Emirates)

10 Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky)

Overall standings:

1 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 22hrs 46mins 3secs

2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +16secs

3 Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott) +26secs

4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida +43secs

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

6 Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing) +53secs

7 Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) +1min 3secs

8 Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 10secs

9 George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL-Jumbo) +1min 11secs

10 Fabio Aru (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +1min 12secs

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Battaglin wins stage five of Giro as Yates stays third in GC

Enrico Battaglin

Enrico Battaglin claimed a third stage victory during the Giro d’Ita

Enrico Battaglin came off the wheel of Italian compatriot Giovanni Visconti to snatch stage five of the Giro d’Italia as the overall lead stayed the same.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Battaglin, third on Tuesday’s fourth stage, made his move inside the final 200m of the 153km ride from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa in Sicily.

In another frantic finale Britain’s Simon Yates took fifth on the day to stay in third place overall, 17 seconds behind general classification leader Rohan Dennis.

Britain’s Chris Froome is 57 seconds back, with Thursday’s stage up Mount Etna his first real chance to claw back some of those seconds lost in the first week.

“The finish was a little difficult yesterday,” Battaglin, who finished third on stage four on Tuesday, told Eurosport.

“Yesterday was a powerful sprint, but today was a steep climb and at 2km to go I had time to rest and recover and have a really big sprint.”

Australian Dennis retains the overall lead for BMC by one second from defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez was the big loser on the day, shedding 42 seconds on his GC rivals after misjudging a benign right-hand bend with 6km to go and ending up in the grass.

A four-man break made its move early in the 153km stage, the first half of that on flat roads before the parcours became more rolling as the race developed.

And it stayed away for most of the day, Ireland’s Ryan Mullen showing well before Andrea Vendrame broke clear with 20km to go.

The Italian held on to the lead until the final three kilometres when he was swamped by the peloton, the mood in the pack nervous after the splits late on Tuesday’s stage and made more more fractured yet by a number of small crashes.

Elia Viviani, winner of stages two and three in Israel, was one of those held up, his hopes of a third stage win dashed.

For Froome it was all about ensuring no more time was lost on Dumoulin after a fraught first five days. Team Sky were more visible at the front of the peloton than they had been, with the four-time Tour de France champion still optimistic that he can add a Giro maglia rosa to his Tour and Vuelta a Espana titles.

Stage five result:

1 Enrico Battaglin (Ita/LottoNL-Jumbo) 4hrs 6mins 33secs

2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same time

3 Jose Gonçalves (Por/Katusha-Alpecin)

4 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger/Quick-Step Floors)

5 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)

6 Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto Soudal)

7 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)

8 Maurits Lammertink (Ned/Katusha-Alpecin)

9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida)

10 Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe)

General classification after stage five:

1 Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC) 18hr 29min 41secs

2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +1sec

3 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +17secs

4 Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto Fix All) +19secs

5 Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana) +25secs

6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger/Quick-Step Floors) +28secs

7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same time

8 Jose Gonçalves (Por/Katusha-Alpecin) +32secs

9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +34secs

10 Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) +35secs

Selected others:

20. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +55secs

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Giro d’Italia: Simon Yates up to third as Tim Wellens wins stage four

Tim Wellens wins stage four

Wellens won his only other Grand Tour stage at the 2016 Giro d’Italia

Britain’s Simon Yates made up ground on overall leader Rohan Dennis as Tim Wellens won a tough uphill sprint on stage four of the Giro d’Italia.

The first stage on Italian soil, after three in Israel, finished with a 1km climb that saw Belgian Wellens hold off the challenge of Michael Woods.

Yates was fourth, four seconds in front of Dennis, to move up to third overall.

Fellow Briton Chris Froome finished 21 seconds behind Wellens and Yates to slip 55 seconds behind Dennis.

Australian BMC Racing rider Dennis retained the overall lead by one second from defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

The finishing climb in Caltagirone, which featured a section with a gradient of 13%, was expected to produce splits in the peloton. And so it proved, with Froome, who is now 20th overall, among the big losers.

Dumoulin lands another early blow on Froome

Dutchman Dumoulin backed up his crushing victory in the opening time trial in Jerusalem with an assured display on the first uphill finish of the race.

While not among the favourites for the stage win, the 27-year-old kept himself to the fore during a testing finale to roll home just four seconds behind Wellens and extend his advantage over Froome to almost a minute after only four stages.

Froome has been caught out on a short, sharp final climb before. He cracked and lost 20 seconds and the yellow jersey to Fabio Aru on stage 12 in Peyragudes during last year’s Tour de France before hitting back to win his fourth title.

But he already cannot afford to lose more time over hilly terrain to the likes of Dumoulin, Yates and Thibaut Pinot. The long, grinding climb of Mount Etna to end Thursday’s stage six will be key to Froome’s hopes of staying in contention.

Yates, 25, lost 20 seconds to defending champion Dumoulin in the opening time trial – a success given their relative abilities against the clock – before grabbing four seconds back on Tuesday.

But Dumoulin will be the most content of the main contenders after the first day in Italy, especially as he does not have the pressure of having to defend the maglia rosa (leader’s jersey).

Giro thrills on first day in Italy

After two predictable sprint stage victories for Elia Viviani in Israel, the first stage back in Italy served up racing that was more exciting, over an undulating 198km course from Catania to Caltagirone on the island of Sicily.

Enrico Barbin, Maxim Belkov, Marco Frapporti, Quentin Jauregui and Jacopo Mosca formed the breakaway early on, with Barbin extending his lead in the blue jersey for the best climber. Jauregui and Barbin then fell back before the remaining trio were caught by the peloton with around 15km remaining.

As the pace increased through numerous tight turns, several riders sustained punctures, with Katusha-Alpecin’s Jose Goncalves worst affected – the Portuguese falling out of the top 10 after starting the stage third overall.

Italy’s Valerio Conti surged clear solo just inside the final 10km but was swept up with 3km to go before Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team hit the final rise on the front.

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Enrico Battaglin made the first attack but Wellens sat on his wheel, before coming round the Italian with 200m to go and holding off the surging Woods.

The race stays in Sicily for Wednesday’s stage five, which is a hilly 153km course from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa.

Stage four result:

1. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto Fix All) 5hr 17min 34secs

2. Michael Woods (Can/EF Education First-Drapac) Same time

3. Enrico Battaglin (Ita/LottoNL-Jumbo)

4. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)

5. Davide Formolo (Ita/Bora-Hansgrohe)

6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze/Mitchelton-Scott) +4secs

7. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) Same time

8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana)

9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain Merida)

10. Esteban Chaves (Col/Mithchelton-Scott)

General classification after stage four:

1. Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC) 14hrs 23mins 08secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +01secs

3. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +17secs

4. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto Fix All) +19secs

5. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana) +25secs

6. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger/Quick-Step Floors) +28secs

7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same time

8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +34secs

9. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) +35secs

10. Carlos Betancur (Col/Movistar Team) Same time

Selected others:

20. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +55secs

36. Alex Dowsett (GB/Katusha-Alpecin) +1min 30secs

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‘They want to do it, we want to do it’

Tour de Yorkshire

A record 2.6m spectators watched the Tour de Yorkshire in 2018

Yorkshire looks set to host the start of the Vuelta a Espana after the county’s cycling chief confirmed “they want to do it, we want to do it”.

The three-week Grand Tour race was won by Britain’s Chris Froome in 2017.

Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in 2014 and is set to stage the 2019 World Championships.

The county’s burgeoning reputation for staging world class races was enhanced this weekend when a record 2.6m fans watched the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.

The race, extended this year by one day to four – with the women’s race doubled to two days – was borne out of Yorkshire hosting the 2014 Tour.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, who brought the Tour to the county said talks had been going on “for many months” although no year has been revealed.

“Javier [Guillen, the Vuelta director] was here for the presentation on Wednesday night and left on Friday,” Verity added.

“We can offer stunning backdrops and fantastic crowds, he’s been able to see that for himself in the flesh.”

The Vuelta is the third of the year’s Grand Tours and the three-week race usually starts in August. The Giro d’Italia is raced in May, while the Tour de France takes place in July.

The race has only started outside Spain on three occasions – last year’s edition began in Nimes, France, while the race has also started in Lisbon, Portugal in 1997 and Assen, Netherlands in 2009.

When Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme called it the “grandest of Grand Departs”.

The Tour has already been slated to return to the county again. The race is organised by Amaury Sport Organisation, which also looks after the Tour de Yorkshire and Vuelta a Espana among others.

Yorkshire will also stage the Road World Championships, in Septemeber 2019, making it the first British host venue of the event for 37 years.

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Viviani sprints to second successive Giro stage win

Elia Viviani

Viviani won a second sprint in two days to earn his third ever stage victory at the Giro d’Italia

Italian rider Elia Viviani won a second consecutive stage of the Giro d’Italia in Eilat on Sunday, as Australia’s Rohan Dennis retained the overall lead.

Having claimed victory in a dramatic sprint finish on Saturday, Viviani again left it late to win the 229km third stage from Be’er Sheva.

The Quick-Step Floors rider pipped fellow Italian Sacha Modolo on the line to assert his sprint dominance.

BMC Racing’s Dennis keeps the pink jersey after finishing in the peloton.

Ireland’s Sam Bennett was a challenger once again in the final sprint as he came off the last corner in the lead.

But Viviani, 29, was right on his wheel and, despite almost being pushed into the barriers by a veering Bennett, kept his nerve to take the third Giro stage win of his career as the Irishman was forced into third.

“I won and so don’t want to start a polemic. He moved big time,” said Viviani.

“We made contact but I went through. He went on the left and so I went on the right but then he moved across the road.”

Defending champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands is second in the general classification, one second behind Dennis.

British Team Sky rider Chris Froome, who is looking to become just the third man to win three Grand Tours in a row, finished safely in the peloton alongside his rivals for the overall victory.

Fellow Briton Simon Yates, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, continued his good start to the race and came through another day without any hiccups to sit sixth overall.

Team Katusha Alpecin rider Alex Dowsett is the highest-placed Briton in fourth, courtesy of his performance on the stage one time trial, but he will not challenge for the general classification title.

Three riders made an early break on stage three and Guillaume Boivin of Israel Cycling Academy, who rode out the front on stage two, was involved once again.

This time he was joined by Marco Frapporti of the Androni-Sidermec team and Enrico Barbin of Bardiani – and the trio established a two-minute lead.

They spent almost 225km in the lead in temperatures in well over 30C before they were swallowed up by a charging peloton with 6km to go.

The tour has a rest day on Monday as it heads to Sicily for stage four, which sees the riders tackle 198km from Catania to Caltagirone.

Stage three result:

1. Elia Viviani (Ita/Quick-Step Floors) 5hrs 02mins 09secs

2. Sacha Modolo (Ita/EF Education First-Drapac) Same time

3. Sam Bennett (Ire/Bora-Hansgrohe)

4. Jakub Mareczko (Ita/Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia)

5. Danny van Poppel (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo)

General classification after stage three:

1. Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC) 9hrs 05mins 30secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb +01secs

3. Jose Goncalves (Por/Katusha-Alpecin) +13secs

4. Alex Dowsett (GB/Katusha-Alpecin) +17secs

5. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana) +19secs


6. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +21secs

19. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +38secs

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