Chaves wins sixth stage as Yates takes pink

Chaves wins sixth stage as Yates takes pink

Chaves wins sixth stage as Yates takes pink

"He'd been up the road all day and he deserved it".

After catching Chaves, Yates allowed his team-mate to take the stage win, even though it will cost him four bonus seconds which could prove expensive down the line. "I had a bit of a gap so I took the chance and it worked out".

As the breakaway reached the final 15km on the slopes of Mount Etna, Ulissi remained at the front of the group and Aru had kept his position at the head of the Peloton, riding well with a select bunch of GC contenders. Yates made his move with 1500 metres remaining and surged into the lead before indicating to Chaves he should take the win. "I saw there were guys like Henao and De la Cruz, so I did a big effort to get across", Chaves said. "We need to go day by day, and we need to believe", said Chaves, who grinned and nodded in Yates' direction when asked who would be the protected rider at Mitchelton-Scott from here on in. "This is the best start for the Giro d'Italia".

"I can only thank Simon for letting me win the stage".

"It's unbelievable. I needed this for my comeback to the Giro after one year of absence", said Chaves, who pulled on the King of the Mountains blue jersey.

"I felt really good", Yates said afterwards. "Now we go to the mainland, we're super excited, and we will keep on dreaming".

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Rohan Dennis, who held the jersey heading into the stage, fell away during the final climb and is now 53s down on Yates.

On Thursday, Chaves dedicated his stage victory to the memory of Casas, whose name is inscribed on his shoes.

He now sits one minute and 11 seconds down on Yates, but has launched into the top 10 of the general classification, and based on this morning's showing, there should be a lot more to come over the next two weeks.

Yates now leads Tom Dumoulin by 16s in the race for the pink jersey, while Chaves' victory lifts him up into third place.

Friday's Stage 7 is a 159km route from Pizzo to Praia a Mare, following along Italy's eastern coast travelling north.

The Giro ends in Rome on May 27.

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