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Yates extends overall lead with third Giro stage win

© AFP | Simon Yates is proving himself by far and away the best climber and most consistent rider at the Giro

SAPPADA (ITALY) (AFP) - 

Britain's Simon Yates soloed to a third victory within a week on the 15th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday to extend his overall race lead.

But Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who won on Saturday's Monte Zoncolan summit finish, lost more time on the 176km Dolomites stage from Tolmezzo to Sappada.

Mitchelton-Scott's Yates launched his attack 17km from the finish line and held on to add to his previous victories on the ninth stage at Gran Sasso and 11th at Osimo.

He crossed the line 41 seconds ahead of a group led by Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez of the Astana Pro Team, with Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands in third.

"My attack was a little bit on instinct," explained Yates.

"I saw a little gap. I gave everything the second time to get away. It's fantastic."

Defending champion Dumoulin is second overall but drops to 2min 11sec behind Yates going into the final week. Monday's final rest day will be followed by a time-trial at Rovereto on Tuesday where Dutchman Dumoulin is expected to gain time.

"I feel emotional after today. I've been fighting since Israel to build a good lead," said Yates.

"I'm happy with the gap I have now but it's far from over. It could vanish in 35 kilometres."

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome struggled on the fourth and final climb in the Dolomites losing a minute and a half on the day of his 33rd birthday.

Froome, also the reigning Vuelta a Espana champion, dropped from fifth to seventh overall and is now more than five minutes behind 25-year-old 'King of the Mountains' Yates.

Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo of Bahrain finished fourth and is third overall 2min 28sec behind Yates with France's Thibaut Pinot of Groupama fourth overall at 2min 37sec.

© 2018 AFP