Simon Yates (Great Britain/Michelton-Scott) once more stamped his authority on the 2018 Giro d’Italia, putting time into his rivals by winning the 11th stage on a tough, cobbled uphill finish in Osima. It was Yates’ second victory in the last three stages. Michael Woods, finishing +1:05 behind the pink jersey, fell out of the top-10 on GC while Fabio Aru began to improve in the first Grand Tour of the year.

The Course

After Tuesday’s 244-km, the riders would be pleased to see Wednesday’s route only 156-km as the Giro headed into its second half. Two Cat. 3 climbs were spread evenly along the course, but it would be a Cat. 4 that would play a key role in the day. The intermediate sprint point with 30-km to go was actually a wicked 800-metres of 11.8 percent, but perhaps too far from the finish to elicit attacks. However, the Cat. 4 ascent to the finish in Osimo would test the riders with its narrow, cobbled roads and steep grades.

The Breakaway

The attacking was relentless over the first 40-km and first Cat. 3 climb, with no escape able to stick. Finally, a likely quintet of riders including LL Sanchez (Spain/Astana) broke free. The five riders were given a short leash.

Traveling northeast from the region of Umbria to the region of Marche, the scenery was lovely.

The hard climb of Filottrano, where the Giro memorialized Michele Scarponi, brought the gap down to 1:40 with 30-km to go.

Endgame

The pace was frantic as the field headed towards a 16 percent wall with 5-km to go. The gap was 8-seconds when the remnants of the break hit the foot of this climb but the catch was made on the cobbles. Zdenek Stybar and Tim Wellens scampered up the road.

The duo held a 10-second lead with 3-km to go. Yates and Woods were in the 15-rider chase group. Yates went past Wellen just before the red kite. Tom Dumoulin and Domenico Pozzivivo were the closest chasers. Other riders began to close in on the cobbles, but it was really a drag race between the Brit and the Dutchman.

Yates held off Dumoulin by two-seconds and took the maximum bonus seconds as well. Davide Formolo was third.

Yates now leads Dumoulin by 47-seconds and Thibaut Pinot by 1:04. The Brit will have to dig out more time on Dumoulin on Saturday’s Zoncolan finish to withstand the Dutchman’s time trial onslaught on Stage 16.

Thursday’s stage is flat until a Cat. 4 climb 14-km from the finish in Imola.

2018 Giro d’Italia Stage 11

1) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) 3:25:53
2) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:02
3) Davide Formolo (Italy/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:05
40) Michael Woods (Canada/EF-Drapac) +1:05

2018 Giro d’Italia GC
1) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) 47:08:21
2) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:47
3) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) +1:04
16)) Michael Woods (Canada/EF-Drapac) +3:43

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