Chris Froome 'happy just to be with favourites' on Etna as he aims for third week Giro d'Italia form

Froome survived the Giro d'Italia's first summit finish and says he's still hoping to hit form in the third week of the race

Chris Froome on stage six of the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Chris Froome (Team Sky) plans to be on form for the third week of the Giro d'Italia after passing the Mount Etna stage marking his top rivals.

Simon Yates shot away for the pink jersey lead with Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Esteban Chaves, who won the stage.

Froome finished with 2017 Giro champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and his other rivals despite being gapped at certain points on the 16-kilometre volcanic climb.

>>> Five talking points from stage six of the Giro d’Italia

"I was happy just to be in the main group of favourites with Tom Dumoulin and the other guys," Froome said.

"My objective is to build through this race and be at my best in the third week, and I'm still on track for that."

In the 28-man move, which had Chaves, Sky counted David de la Cruz and Sergio Henao. They dropped back to support Froome on the final climb.

"The team did a good job, we were up front and also represented in the breakaway with Sergio Henao and the guys did a good job positioning me into the final to keep me safe and up there, ready for the climb," Froome added.

"So I think all in all, I'm just happy to tick this day off and looking forward to reaching mainland Italy and carrying on with the Giro.

"I think it was a really well executed stage by Mitchelton-Scott with Chaves in the break today it put a lot of pressure on the other GC contenders to work behind, BMC especially, so congratulations to them for taking the stage win and the pink jersey today."

Sports director Dario Cioni waited for Froome at the anti-doping check after the stage. Afterwards, he was due to fly with Fabio Aru and other favourites via helicopter to Italy's mainland in the Reggio Calabria region.

"How is Chris? It was the first summit finish, so it was a question mark, but we knew he was there in the Tour of the Alps with [Domenico] Pozzovivo and [Thibaut] Pinot. We were faithful. We know that he's growing and improving, so it's fine," Cioni said.

"If he was feeling well and had a chance to attack, but the chance wasn't there. He knows how to manage it, he knows where the finish line is, so he managed it at his own pace then to follow every attack."

The next summit finish is Montevirgine on Saturday. With Yates in charge, Froome sits in eighth overall at 1-10 minutes back with the time loses from day one and four calculated in.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.