Giro leader Yates joins Cavendish with second stage win
Simon Yates pushed further in front at the Giro d'Italia with his second stage win of the race after a late attack on Wednesday.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider has led the race since last Thursday and repeatedly built on his advantage in that time, including a stage nine triumph on Saturday.
And Yates delivered again in Osimo, kicking for the line late on in stage 11 and finishing two seconds ahead of defending champion Tom Dumoulin to become just the second Briton, after Mark Cavendish, to win two stages of the same Giro event.
It was the second day in a row in which Yates crossed one place ahead of Dumoulin, crucially holding off the challenge of the second-placed Dutchman.
There will be opportunities for others to make moves, but few look like matching Yates and Dumoulin right now, with Chris Froome falling a further 40 seconds off the pace on Wednesday.
The four-time Tour de France champion had climbed the standings 24 hours earlier, but he was dropped back to 12th overall - 3 minutes and 20 seconds adrift of Yates - after finishing the stage 23rd in a congested pack.
Meanwhile, the impressive Yates made up ground in the points classification, as the top three failed to register, while nudging slightly further in front as the king of the mountains.
@MarkCavendish and @SimonYatess are the only Britans with multiple wins in the same Giro. Cavendish was a multiple stage winner in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013; Yates this year. #Giro101-- Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 16, 2018
YATES' ADJUSTMENT WINS THE DAY
Yates' "dream scenario" - as Froome described it - dissipated on Tuesday when team-mate Esteban Chaves fell well off the pace.
The question now, 24 hours later, was whether Yates could adapt. "I think it becomes harder, because we are on the final climbs and, before, we had two cards to play," the rider said beforehand. "Now, it's only me and we'll have to adjust."
His answer was emphatic, with another stage win providing a welcome confidence boost and adding more seconds to that overall lead. Dumoulin is rallying again, but he cannot reach Yates right now.
There is still time for the defending champion and he can be dangerous this week, having won stage 14 last year on his way to the title.
As long as Yates continues to pip his rival, though, the Dutchman's improvement will count for little.
"He is flying and I'm genuinely happy for him," Froome said to Eurosport. "It's amazing to see another Brit in the pink jersey and he's got a really strong chance of winning it."
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 3:25:53
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:02
3. Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:05
4. Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:08
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +0:08
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 47:08:21
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:47
3. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +1:04
1. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) 178
2. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 112
3. Davide Ballerini (Androni-Sidermec) 87
King of the Mountains
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 58
2. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) 47
3. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 36
The riders will be on the road again on Thursday, taking on a largely flat stage along the coast from Osimo to Imola. There is the opportunity for a bunch sprint to finish at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari just outside the town.