Dennis loses Giro lead but Aussie flavour remains
ESTEBAN Chaves, of the Aussie-based Mitchelton team, won a thrilling sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia ahead of teammate Simon Yates as Chris Froome lost more time to his pink jersey rivals.
Chaves, taking his second Giro stage win, finished just ahead of Britain's Yates, whose late surge to join the 28-year-old Colombian earned him the overall leader's pink jersey.
FDJ's Thibaut Pinot finished third, 26 seconds behind the leading pair, after a 164km ride between Caltanissetta and the summit finish at Etna, with Froome finishing in the same time as the Frenchman.
There was suspense all the way as both Mitchelton riders approached the finish line, but in the end Yates sat up to allow Chaves to savour the stage victory.
"Chaves had been out on the road all day, so he deserved the stage win," said Yates, who takes the pink jersey from Aussie Rohan Dennis of BMC.
Chaves was part of a 28-rider escape group, which fell apart at the foot of Sicily's Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe.
After a series of attacks and counter-attacks on the way up to Etna, the Colombian climbing specialist pulled away from his rivals with 5.5 km to race.
With Chaves confidently ahead on his own, Yates bided his time amid a series of further skirmishes before pulling away in commanding fashion to join the Colombian in the final kilometre.
"It's unbelievable. I needed this for my comeback to the Giro after one year of absence," said Chaves, who pulls on the King of the Mountains blue jersey.
Froome - bidding for a third consecutive Grand Tour win - moves up from 19th to eighth position but dropped 15 seconds and is now 1min 10sec behind Yates.