Mitchelton-SCOTT erupt on Etna to go one-two and take race lead at Giro d’ItaliaThu 10 May 2018
In a day to be remembered, Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Esteban Chavesand Simon Yates have conquered Mt Etna to finish first and second on stage six of the Giro d’Italia and move Yates into the race lead.
The duo crossed the line of the race’s first summit finish together, with Yates honouring Chaves the victory, 26seconds ahead of their nearest rival.
The performance sees Yates take the overall lead by 16seconds to Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb). Chaves moves into third overall at 23seconds.
Slipping into the break:
After countless unsuccessful fights to form the breakaway in the first hour of racing, Chaves and Australian Jack Haig slipped into the eventual 28-man breakaway on a descent.
The group worked well together, with Haig shouldering a heavy load to support the ambitions of Mitchelton-SCOTT.
At its biggest their advantage extended to a little over three-minutes before Astana joined BMC in the chase efforts behind.
The last standing:
What was once a large group dwindled down as the road started to climb towards Etna. By 10km to go just nine riders remained, including Chaves. With the joint chase behind, their advantage was under a minute.
At the steepest part of the final climb, with 5.5km to go, Chaves attacked and committed solo.
Behind, the favourites group was fracturing under the pressure of the chase, but teammate Yates was clearly amongst the strongest.
Looking comfortable as he was covering the counter moves of the GC group, Yates was a frightening sight for those trying to chase.
With a kilometre and a half remaining, and Chaves hovering around 25seconds ahead, a lull in the action saw the favourites looking tired and at each other to close the gap. Yates seized the opportunity to swing to the side, ensuring no one was on his wheel, before accelerating ahead of his rivals.
The Britan shortly joined Chaves at the head of the race, took up the pace effort and extended the Mitchelton-SCOTT duo’s advantage.
With Yates honouring him the victory, Chaves crossed the line slightly ahead - both riders saluting a dream day out.
Esteban Chaves – Stage winner:
"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 – Race leader:
“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."
Giro d'Italia stage six results:
1. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:11:16
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +0:26
General classification after stage six:
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 22:46:03
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:16
3. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:26
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.