(Reuters) - Britain’s Simon Yates took another step towards winning the Giro d’Italia after coming through the stage 16 time trial with a 56-second overall lead on Tuesday.
Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) took a blistering victory at the 34.2-km course from Trento to Rovereto but it was Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates who deserved all the plaudits for another gutsy ride.
Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin, the world time trial champion, was expected to take a huge chunk out of Yates’ lead but the Dutchman finished 22 seconds adrift of Dennis in third spot as his hopes of retaining the title took a hit.
Yates, who had started the day 2 minutes and 11 seconds ahead of Dumoulin, was delighted to have held on to the pink jersey.
“I’m really happy (with the gap on the chasing pack),” Yates, who finished the stage in 22nd place, told Eurosport.
“In the first half I had a good rhythm, I wasn’t losing so much time and really trying to hold my position.
“The final 10k, I really died a thousand deaths and thought I’d lose a lot more time, but I didn’t. It really changes my tactics for the coming days. It’s a good gap and I’ll see what I can do.”
Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome delivered a solid performance to finish the stage fifth and move back up to fourth in the general classification, three minutes and 50 second behind Yates.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey