Esteban Chaves led a 1-2 for Mitchelton-SCOTT on today’s sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on the summit finish of Mount Etna with Simon Yates finishing second on the same time. The Briton now takes over the maglia rosa from previous race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing).
The duo finished 26″ ahead of a small group of chasers led home by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) with many of the GC favourite finishing in the same time as Pinot, including Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates) and Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Chaves had been part of a 28-man breakaway which gained over three minutes on the peloton. On the climb to Etna, this group splintered with Chaves one of the last of the group to remain out front. The Colombian went clear on his own with less than six kilometres remaining.
As his lead dropped to less than 30″ with 1.5 kilometres remaining, Yates surged clear of the chasing group and caught his team mate. The duo stayed clear of the chasers with Chaves crossing the line first.
Yates now leads overall from Dumoulin by 16″ with Chaves in third at 26″.
Esteban Chaves – “It’s unbelievable, this is the best start for the Giro d’Italia. I knew we had to be up front, we had a very hard stage to Etna. I made the break with Jack and I want to say thank you to him – he pulled so much in the breakaway.
“In the finale I rode with Simon and I was first, and he claimed the maglia rosa. How unbelievable is that? I think also I’m in the king of the mountains jersey – it’s like a dream. Now we go to the mainland, we’re super excited, and we will keep on dreaming.”
Simon Yates – “The start was a little crazy there with a lot of attacks going. I don’t know how, but Esteban was in the front there with a really big group. That meant we could sit back and I didn’t really need to do anything, so I could sit in the wheels and save some energy because of course we had Esteban in the lead.
“In the end it worked out perfectly, I felt really good – I’m not really sure how it happened, but I looked across the road and everybody was looking at each other and there was a little bit of a gap. I took a chance and I got across. It’s worked out really good.”