Simon Yates extends Giro d'Italia lead with Stage 15 win

Simon Yates crosses the line to win Stage 15 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia. LUK BENIES/AFP/Getty Images

Simon Yates has extended his lead in the Giro d'Italia by winning Stage 15 while his main rivals struggled on the road to Sappada.

Mitchelton-Scott's Yates, 25, won his third stage of the race so far by 41 seconds from Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez while Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin, second overall, was third on the same time as Lopez.

With bonus seconds applied, Yates now leads Dumoulin by two minutes and 11 seconds. Dumoulin, the world time trial champion, is expected to take a chunk out of that advantage when the race resumes on Tuesday with a race against the clock starting in Trento.

Team Sky's Chris Froome, who won Saturday's Stage 14 on Monte Zoncolan, was distanced on the final two climbs of Sunday's stage and finished among part of a group over 90 seconds after Yates. He now sits sixth overall, four minutes and 52 seconds down.

Yates attacked on the penultimate climb of the 176-kilometre stage from Tolmezzo as Froome was already beginning to struggle, and got away from Dumoulin and the rest of the contenders with a second push.

"It was a bit of instinct," Yates said on Eurosport. "When we came off the descent I saw a little gap to a few guys so I asked Jack [Haig] to push the pace. Then George [Bennett, Lotto NL-Jumbo] attacked really hard from the very bottom. I chose my moment to go. They responded the first time but then I gave everything the second time and I finally managed to get away."

Yates is the first man to win three stages while in the pink jersey since Gilberto Simoni in 2003 -- with Simoni going on to claim overall victory that year.

"I didn't know that," Yates said. "I do like the stats, I like the numbers. It's really fantastic. I don't know why but I'm a bit emotional after today. I really gave it everything."

Asked if his lead was enough to keep pink after the time trial, he said: "It's a good gap but [Dumoulin] could take two minutes out of me in a time trial. I've been fighting since Israel to have a good gap. I'm happy with that gap but it could disappear in 35 kilometres. We'll have to see."