Yates launched from the dwindling bunch in the last 1.5km of the stage, following another huge pull from Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Jack Haig. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) was the only one able to react, but he couldn’t bridge the gap to Yates who won by two seconds.
With bonus seconds on the finish line, Yates extends his advantage once again to now lead by 47seconds to Dumoulin and one-minute four-seconds to Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
A tight leash:
As expected, a hilly stage 11 made for another fierce start. Many teams hoped to make the day’s early breakaway and the battle to ensure it was a suitable combination that escaped was an intense one.
Three riders managed to escape and were later joined by two chasers, but stage win ambitions gave the breakaway little chance of succeeding. Lotto-FixAll were amongst the main outfits fighting to keep the group of five escapees under control all day.
The final run in:
The final survivors of the break, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing), were caught with five kilometres left to race, eventually shut down but a strong push by Trek-Segafredo.
Almost immediately after the regrouping, Zdenek Stybar (Quickstep Floors) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-FixAll) attacked on the pave kicker but Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Haig continued to drive the dwindling bunch into the sharp turn with 1.6km remaining.
Bold move in pink:
Picking his timing thanks to a pre-determined plan, Yates launched onto and past Wellens wheel and straight to the front of the race.
Dumoulin was the only one strong enough to launch in pursuit but he couldn’t bridge the gap to Yates, who saluted for the victory for the second time in the pink jersey.
Simon Yates - Stage 11 winner and race leader:
"I only just won. He (Dumoulin) was chasing me all the way in the final there, it was an extremely difficult final. I am super happy and I would like to have a few easy days now before we get to the mountains.
"There was a plan from the beginning. The overall plan from the start in the bus was that we wouldn't chase through the stage because usually there are guys faster than me in a finish like that. We just let it happen and if it came back then I would obviously go for it. We would try to get to the right hander at the front and then I would do what I could from there and that actually worked out perfectly.
"As for Tom behind me, I didn't actually know until we crested the climb a little bit towards the top because I was just going full gas and I don't like to look behind, if I did I wasn't paying attention to who it was.
"I need more time on these sort of stages and because they are quite explosive I can gain a second or two. Tom is a bit more of a steady climber, he is super hard to drop but these are the stages where I can gain some time. It might be a bit harder once we get to the long climbs so I am happy I could do at least a little bit today."
Giro d'Italia stage 11 results:
- Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3:25:53
- Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:02
- Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:05
General classification after stage 11:
- Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 47:08:21
- Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:47
- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +1:04
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.