Simon Yates says the maglia rosa is now beyond him at the Giro d'Italia, after losing time on stage 16, and will now aim to take a podium spot, which is still "well within reach".
“It was a difficult stage, not what I was looking for, but I did my best," the BikeExchange rider said after the finish. "The victory is a bit far away now, but the podium is still well within reach, so we’ll keep the head up, keep the chin up and go from there."
Yates was distanced on the Passo Giau, the day's major test, and eventually finished 11th, losing 2-37 to stage winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), two minutes to second-place Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious), and over a minute to EF Education-Nippo's Hugh Carthy.
The result was the Brit slipping from second and a minute-and-a-half behind Bernal to fifth and four minutes adrift, but with plenty of uphill kilometres still to come in the final week of the Italian Grand Tour.
“It was a difficult stage, a little bit less difficult because we didn’t run the full stage. Lucky we didn’t as it was cold enough today and I think they (RSC race organisers) made the correct decision," Yates' sports director Matt White said. "It was cold and if we had gone over those other two passes in those temperatures, we would have seen even bigger gaps, so I think it was the best decision for rider safety."
White says that Yates and the team will now reset and get ready to go on the offensive as they try to claim a podium spot before arriving in Milan.
"With us, it didn’t go as planned. You have to manage your bad days; they are just as important as managing your good days. There’s still a lot of racing to come, there’s a well-deserved rest day tomorrow and then we press reset and attack our last block before Milan.”
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