Simon says: Giro leader Yates on why Monday’s rest day is important

Simon Yates and Chris Froome

Simon Yates (left) won the best young rider at the 2017 Tour de France, won by Chris Froome

Britain’s Chris Froome started the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia looking to become just the third rider to win three successive Grand Tours.

However, the Team Sky rider, who won his fourth Tour de France title last July and followed that with victory in the Vuelta a Espana, is now almost five minutes down on race leader and fellow Briton Simon Yates.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates showed his pedigree by finishing seventh at last year’s Tour de France to win the best young rider’s white jersey,

Yates, who wrote this guide to the race, extended his lead further on Sunday’ by winning his third stage of this year’s race but he expects to lose time to defending champion Tom Dumoulin in Tuesday’s individual time trial on stage 16.

The 21-stage, 3562.9km (2,214 miles) race started in Jerusalem and finishes in Rome on Sunday, 27 May.

Stage 1: Friday, 4 May – Individual time trial, Jerusalem – 9.7km


Dumoulin proved his time trialling prowess with a sensational ride in Jerusalem.

Winner: Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb)

Report: Froome crashes before race as Dumoulin crushes rivals

Chris Froome’s quest to win a third Grand Tour on the trot takes an early blow when he crashes on a pre-stage recce of the route. Defending Giro and world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin goes out last and comfortably beats his rivals, also eclipsing long-time leader Rohan Dennis to take the stage win and maglia rosa. Simon Yates is the strongest of those chasing GC honours, finishing seventh, just 20 seconds back

Stage 2: Saturday, 5 May – Haifa-Tel Aviv, 167km


Elia Viviani picked up his second career Giro stage win with victory in Tel Aviv

Winner: Elia Viviani (Ita/Quick-Step Floors)

Report: Viviani wins sprint as Dennis takes race lead

Elia Viviani lives up to his favourite billing by winning the bunch sprint in Tel Aviv, despite losing his lead-out men in the closing stages. All the race favourites finish in the peloton, while Rohan Dennis picks up three bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint to take the overall race lead.

Stage 3: Sunday, 6 May – Be’er Sheva-Eilat, 229km


Viviani won his third career Giro stage in front of huge crowds by the Red Sea

Winner: Elia Viviani (Ita/Quick-Step Floors)

Report: Viviani takes second win as race leaves Israel

The ‘Big Start’ comes to its conclusion with the expected finale as Elia Viviani wins the sprint for the line by Red Sea. He is nearly dumped into the barriers by Ireland’s Sam Bennett but nudges his way through to complete a superb start to the race.

Stage 4: Tuesday, 8 May – Catania-Caltagirone, 198km


Wellens claimed his second Giro stage, having won his first in 2016

Winner: Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto Fix All)

Report: Yates up to third as Froome loses time

The first stage in Italy serves up an exciting race as Tim Wellens breaks clear to win on a testing uphill finish. Simon Yates impresses by finishing fourth in the same time as Wellens to move up to third overall. But Chris Froome struggles and loses 21 seconds, slipping to almost a minute behind Rohan Dennis, who retains the pink jersey.

Stage 5: Wednesday, 9 May – Agrigento-Santa Ninfa, 153km


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

Winner: Enrico Battaglin (Ita/LottoNL-Jumbo)

Report: Battaglin wins stage five as Yates remains third

Enrico Battaglin comes off the wheel of Italian compatriot Giovanni Visconti to snatch stage five as the overall lead stays the same. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Battaglin makes his move inside the final 200m of the stage in Sicily. In another frantic finale, Britain’s Simon Yates takes fifth to stay third overall, 17 seconds behind general classification leader Rohan Dennis.

Stage 6: Thursday, 10 May – Caltanissetta-Etna, 164km


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

Winner: Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott)

Report: Yates takes overall lead as Chaves wins stage six

Britain’s Simon Yates storms into the overall lead as team-mate Esteban Chaves wins stage six. The 26-year-old attacked in the last two kilometres of the 163km stage to Mount Etna with his rivals for the general classification unable to react.

Yates 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.

Stage 7: Friday, 11 May – Pizzo-Praia a Mare, 159km


Bennett, 27, celebrates his first Grand Tour stage win

Winner: Sam Bennett (Ire/Bora-Hansgrohe)

Report: Bennett wins stage seven as Yates retains lead

Britain’s Simon Yates holds on to the overall lead as Ireland’s Sam Bennett wins stage seven of the Giro d’Italia. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider jumped Elia Viviani just before the line as the 159km stage from Pizzo to Praia a Mare ended in a bunch sprint.

Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates, who took the pink jersey with a 16-second lead after stage six, is among the group of riders to finish behind Bennett.

Stage 8: Saturday, 12 May – Praia a Mare-Montevergine di Mercogliano, 209km


Richard Carpaz becomes the first Ecuadorian rider to win a Grand Tour stage

Winner: Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar)

Report: Yates retains overall lead as Ecuador’s Carapaz wins stage

Britain’s Simon Yates hangs on to the leader’s pink jersey as Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz makes a late move to win stage eight of the Giro d’Italia. The Movistar rider launched a solo attack with a little over one kilometre to go on the 209km route from Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano.

Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates finishes safely in the bunch to maintain his 16-second lead over Tom Dumoulin.

Stage 9: Sunday, 13 May – Pesco Sannita-Gran Sasso d’Italia, 225km


Simon Yates goes into the second rest day of the Giro with a 32-second lead over team-mate Esteban Chaves

Winner: Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton Scott)

Report: Sensational Yates takes first Giro stage win

Britain’s Simon Yates extends his overall race lead to 32 seconds with a well-time burst from the pack to win his first Giro stage on a summit finish. The Bury rider makes his move in the final 100m to distance defending champion Tom Dumoulin and fellow Briton Chris Froome, who now sits more than two minutes adrift.

Stage 10: Tuesday, 15 May – Penne-Gualdo Tadino, 239km


Matej Mohoric won his second Grand Tour stage with victory over Nico Denz in a two-man sprint

Winner: Matej Mohoric (Slo/Bahrain-Merida)

Report: Mohoric sprints to victory over Denz

Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric outsprints Germany’s Nico Denz to take the stage win after the pair break clear late on. Britain’s Simon Yates retains the overall lead over defending champion Tom Dumoulin, who moves up to second after Yates’ team-mate Esteban Chaves cracks and loses significant time.

Stage 11: Wednesday, 16 May – Assisi-Osimo, 156km


Simon Yates became only the second Briton after Mark Cavendish to win multiple stages in the same Giro

Winner: Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)

Report: Yates extends lead with second stage win

Britain’s Simon Yates, who picked himself for victory in this guide, wins his second stage of the Giro and extends his overall lead. The Mitchelton-Scott rider attacks with about 1.5km to go, dropping all his rivals before Tom Dumoulin responds to limit his losses, coming in two seconds down on Yates to now trail by 47 seconds. Chris Froome struggles again and slips to over three minutes behind Yates.

Stage 12: Thursday, 17 May – Osimo-Imola, 214km


Sam Bennett became the first Irishman to win multiple stages at a Grand Tour since Sean Kelly at the Vuelta a Espana of 1988.

Winner: Sam Bennett (Ire/Bora-Hansgrohe)

Report: Bennett wins stage as Yates stays in pink

No change among the main contenders after a stage for the sprinters eventually ends as just that.

Elia Viviani does not contend the finish after he gets dropped and it is Sam Bennett who kicks early to win in some style and secure his second stage win of the 2018 Giro.

Stage 13: Friday, 18 May – Ferrara-Nervesa della Battaglia, 180km


Elia Viviani claimed his third win of the 2018 Giro on stage 13

Winner: Elia Viviani (Ita/Quick-Step Floors)

Report: Viviani wins third stage as Yates retains lead

Elia Viviani emphatically wins his third stage of the 2018 Giro, leaving his rivals behind in a bunch sprint finish. The contenders for the title enjoy an easy day before the imposing Zoncolan climb on stage 14, with Simon Yates retaining his overall lead.

Stage 14: Saturday, 19 May – San vito al Tagliamento-Monte Zoncolan, 186km


Chris Froome sprays the celebratory champagne after winning stage 14

Winner: Chris Froome (GB/Sky)

Report: Froome wins first Giro stage as Yates extends lead

Chris Froome secures a first stage win at the Giro, beating Simon Yates on the brutal summit of Mount Zoncolan. The four-time Tour de France winner, who had slipped to more than three minutes off the lead, won the stage following a battle with his fellow Briton who finishes second, six seconds behind and puts more time into key rivals as he holds on to the overall leader’s pink jersey.

Stage 15: Sunday, 20 May – Tolmezzo-Sappada, 176km


A third stage win for Britain’s Yates and he increased his lead at the top of the standings

Winner: Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)

Report: Yates wins his third stage and extends leads

A fine solo win from Simon Yates sees him claim his third stage victory of this year’s race and extend his overall lead. He becomes the first rider since Gilberto Simoni in 2003 to win three road stages while wearing the maglia rosa in one edition and now leads by two minutes 11 seconds.

Monday, 21 May – rest day

Simon says: After a long transfer we will normally sleep in as long as possible. We’ll take a look at stage 16’s individual time trial course in the morning but rest is just as, if not more, important. So, after we have ridden over what is a reasonably straightforward TT we will retreat to the team hotel and just lay low and focus on what surely will be one of the most crucial show downs of the entire Giro.

Stage 16: Tuesday, 22 May – Individual time trial, Trento-Rovereto, 34.2km


Simon says: Survival day. Before the race even started we knew today was our danger day. Days like today are made for Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin – the difference they can make on a time trial like this is why they started the Giro as the favourites.

For smaller guys like me and my team-mate Esteban Chaves, we just hope that the work we did on the time-trial bike in the off-season is enough to minimise the damage and keep us in striking distance of the podium.

Simon’s one to watch: Chris Froome – the Team Sky cyclist, looking to become the third rider to win three Grand Tours in a row, is playing catch-up…

Stage 17: Wednesday, 23 May – Riva del Garda-Iseo, 155km


Simon says: The last chance for the real opportunists. The sprinters and their team-mates will all be fatigued so who will control a stage like this that will surely involve an aggressive start? A breakaway looks certain because all the key teams and riders will be thinking of three incredibly heavy days to come.

Simon’s one to watch: Luis Leon Sanchez – the Spaniard is a breakaway specialist with all four of his Tour de France stage wins coming in this way.

Stage 18: Thursday, 24 May – Abbiategrasso-Pratonevoso, 196km


Simon says: The first of three big days to decide the Giro. I really see two races developing on a stage like today, one for the lucky climbers who make the break and the other between the key General Classification guys on the final and only climb of the day.

Simon’s one to watch: Carlos Betancur – the Colombian climber is yet to win a Grand Tour stage but has numerous top-10 finishes on mountain stages and to add to his pedigree, he was the best young rider at the Giro in 2013.

Stage 19: Friday, 25 May – Venaria Reale-Bardonecchia, 184km


Simon says: This is the hardest day of the race – the Queen stage – and I expect it to be won by a General Classification rider, although you could see big gaps between them. There’s a lot of GC players starting the Giro who need to be aggressive and if you have good legs you can really make a difference on a day like today.

The break might go to collect King of the Mountain points but I predict it will most likely come back together on the final ascent.

Simon’s one to watch: Chris Froome – will he be needing to attack? This promises to be an exciting day regardless of who is in the lead.

Stage 20: Saturday, 26 May – Susa-Cervinnia, 214km


Simon says: The final chance. The General Classification battle will determine how this final stage is raced, but I guarantee it will be action-packed and you will see a lot of key guys marking each other. With only the procession in Rome to follow, our winner will be decided today.

This could play into the hands of somebody slightly off the radar on GC for the stage win.

Simon’s one to watch: George Bennett – the New Zealander is yet to win a Grand Tour stage but comes into the race in decent form having finished fifth in the Tour of the Alps last month.

Stage 21: Sunday, 27 May – Rome, 115km


Simon says: Emotions on this day depend on how the previous 20 days have panned out, but there’s always a sense of relief. Your body is on the brink of exhaustion and everyone is looking forward to stepping off the bike, having a rest and spending some time with family and loved ones.

What an incredible city to finish off our epic three weeks of racing. A short, sharp circuit race in the city of Rome is our last stage. A day for the surviving sprinters who have endured an arduous third week with one eye on victory.

Simon’s one to watch: Elia Viviani - it’s hard to back against the Italian who will be keen to impress in his capital city.

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