Giro d'Italia: Simon Yates extends lead before potentially decisive time trial

Simon Yates: The British rider is 'happy' with his lead in Giro d'Italia
Simon Yates: The British rider is 'happy' with his lead in Giro d'Italia

Britain's Simon Yates is taking nothing for granted despite winning stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia to extend his overall lead ahead of Tuesday's potentially vital time trial.

Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won his third stage of the race so far by 41 seconds from Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez while Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin, who is second overall, was third on the same time as Lopez.

With bonus seconds applied, the 25-year-old Yates now leads Dumoulin by two minutes and 11 seconds, although world time trial champion Dumoulin is expected to take a chunk out of that advantage when the race resumes after Monday's rest day with a race against the clock starting in Trento.

"It's a good gap but (Dumoulin) could take two minutes out of me in a time trial," Yates told Eurosport. "I've been fighting since Israel to have a good gap. I'm happy with that gap but it could disappear in 35 kilometres. We'll have to see."

Yates attacked on the penultimate climb of the 176km stage from Tolmezzo to Sappada and got away from Dumoulin and the rest of the contenders with a second push.

"It was a bit of instinct," Yates added. "When we came off the descent I saw a little gap to a few guys so I asked Jack (Haig) to push the pace. Then George (Bennett, Lotto NL-Jumbo) attacked really hard from the very bottom.

"I chose my moment to go. They responded the first time but then I gave everything the second time and I finally managed to get away."

Yates is the first man to win three stages while in the pink jersey since Gilberto Simoni in 2003, with Simoni going on to claim overall victory that year.

"I didn't know that," Yates said. "I do like the stats, I like the numbers. It's really fantastic. I don't know why but I'm a bit emotional after today. I really gave it everything."

Team Sky's Chris Froome, who won Saturday's stage 14 on Monte Zoncolan, was distanced on the final two climbs of Sunday's stage and finished part of a group over 90 seconds after Yates.

The four-time Tour de France winner now sits seventh overall, four minutes and 52 seconds down.

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