Simon Yates cleared a significant hurdle in his bid for Giro d'Italia glory as he kept the leader's pink jersey on Tuesday's time trial, which was won by Australian Rohan Dennis.
Yates' time of 41 minutes 37 seconds over the 34.5km course from Trento to Roverto was only 22nd on the day but enough for the 25-year-old Mitchelton-Scott rider to keep the race lead by 56 seconds from defending champion Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb.
Dutchman Dumoulin, the world time trial champion, took 75 seconds out of Yates, but had started the day two minutes and 11 seconds down in second place.
Team Sky's Chris Froome recorded the fifth best time on the day with a 40:35, which sees him move up to fourth overall, three minutes and 50 seconds down, after Frenchman Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ struggled mightily.
Yates was delighted to keep pink and said doing so will allow him to take a different approach into the final week after some aggressive racing so far.
"I'm really happy," he said, speaking on Eurosport. "The first half I felt good, I had a good rhythm and I felt I was going well, I wasn't losing so much time. I was really trying to hold my position.
"But the final 10km, I really died a thousands deaths. I thought I would lose a lot more time but I managed to hang on and I'm really happy.
"It really changes my tactics for the coming days, I think. Unfortunately for the fans I can be a lot more defensive."