Chavez won a mountain stage, Yates headed the General offset

Chavez won a mountain stage, Yates headed the General offset

Chaves held a long-time lead on Mount Etna before being caught late on by Yates, who nevertheless allowed the Colombian to cross the line first as the stage victor.

The 26-year-old broke away from the peloton to finish second behind his Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Esteban Chaves and move top of the standings, 16 seconds clear of defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

"It wasn't really the plan for Esteban to go in the breakaway, but it was very insane in the start, a lot of guys went up the road and he just happened to be there".

The Bury-born rider, who rides for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott, attacked in the final two kilometres of stage six up Mount Etna, surging away from an elite chase group packed with general classification contenders.

Chaves had been out front as part of a 28-man breakaway for most of the day and attacked on the final climb with five kilometres remaining, and swiftly built a significant advantage.

"I felt really good", said Yates, who now holds the pink jersey. "I could sit in the wheels and save some energy", Yates continued.

"It's unbelievable. I needed this for my comeback to the Giro after one year of absence", said Chaves, who pulled on the King of the Mountains blue jersey.

After catching Chaves, Yates allowed his team-mate to take the stage win, even though it will cost him four bonus seconds which could prove expensive down the line.

"He had been up the road all day and he deserved it". I took a chance.

Bennett, 28, produced another solid ride, finishing with a time of 4:16:37, just 26 seconds behind stage victor, Esteban Chaves of Colombia.

Yates reeled him in near the end of a brutal 15km climb, but was happy to go without the stage win, safe in the knowledge that he would have the maglia rosa on his back.

From Friday, after the opening two stages in Isreal were followed by three days in Sicily, the Giro continues on the Italian mainland with the 159km seventh stage between Pizzo and Praia a Mare in Calabria.

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