Yates won the mountain finish and increased the gap from his pursuers

Matej Mohoric claimed his first-ever Giro d'Italia stage win today

Mitchleton-Scott's Simon Yates stays in the race leader's Maglia Rosa and extended his lead after picking up bonus seconds at today's intermediate sprint.

Team Sky's Chris Froome lost more time, finishing 40 seconds down on Yates.

The four-time Tour de France victor now trails his fellow Briton by three minutes and 20 seconds as his hopes of winning the race continue to fade.

Esteban Chaves has suffered a major setback at the Giro d'Italia
Esteban Chaves has suffered a major setback at the Giro d'Italia

Yates now leads by 41sec from Dumoulin with Pinot third at 46sec.

Various groups were able to briefly enjoy some freedom with nearly every team represented at one time or another, before Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing) on the first climb after 35km with the duo later joined by Fausto Masnada (Androni-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF), Alex Turrin (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia).

The peloton faced not one but two nasty climbs up into the hill-top town of Osimo, with Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) launching a brutal attack on the first cobbled climb of 16 per cent.

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Australia's former pink Jersey holder Rohan Dennis (BMC) is in seventh place, two minutes and 28 seconds behind Yates and still inside the top-ten.

Yates now leads by 41 seconds from Dumoulin, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) in third at 46 seconds.

That meant a fast and frantic start to the stage as rider after rider tried to get up the road while Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sunweb patrolled the front of the bunch to ensure that no one threatening was able to get away. The race ends in Rome on May 27.

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"It was an extremely hard final", Yates told Eurosport. "I need as many seconds as I can get so maybe I need to go for more bonus seconds".

"I'm not scared of the third week; I'm scared of the time trial". Because they are quite explosive, I can gain a second or two on Tom here. The important thing is that we've still got the leader's jersey.

But Froome insists he's still very much in the race as he bids to become the first rider to win three consecutive Grand Tours after the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana past year.

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The 32-year-old again could not respond to the attacks of his rivals on a short, sharp climb, while key team-mate Sergio Henao was also caught up in a crash during the finale. "I felt good all day and I'm really pleased that I took advantage of the opportunity". "I've had a lot of pain down my right-hand side, and if you're not at your best, there is nowhere to hide", he told Eurosport.

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