Simon Yates says riding Strade Bianche earlier this year helped him on stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

The British rider moved up to fifth overall after holding on to the likes of Egan Bernal until the final climb

Simon Yates on stage 11 of Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Simon Yates says he's happy with how he performed on the gravel roads of Tuscany during the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2021 and that he's glad he rode Strade Bianche earlier in the season.

Yates (BikeExchange) has slowly been making his way up the overall standings and has gone under the radar a bit now that Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) have been seemingly the dominant riders.

However, Evenepoel slipped to seventh at 2-22 in the overall standings with Yates jumping above him to fifth a whole minute ahead of the young Belgian.

>>> Egan Bernal extends lead on the gravel roads of Giro d'Italia 2021 stage 11

Yates spoke after the stage: "It was a good day today looking at the situation with the GC. I have moved up to fifth overall now so onwards and upwards.

"It is was not one of the days I was looking forward to but I think I did a good ride there and had good legs, so I am looking forward to the days to come."

The British rider made his debut on the gravel roads of Strade Bianche this year as he looked to get used to the feel of the uneven surface. 

He finished 63rd then but it clearly helped as he came in 15th on the Giro stage just 26 seconds behind the pink jersey of Bernal, who finished third at Strade Bianche.

"It is not my favourite terrain, I don’t have any experience of riding off-road other than in Strade Bianche earlier in the year, which I think was very valuable in doing just for the experience and it helped me a lot today as well as doing the recon before the race. I am just happy to get through it really."

Yates may have learnt from past mistakes when he has gone all-in early and suffered for it later in the race. With 2018 being a perfect example when he lost almost half an hour on a flying Chris Froome (the Team Sky).

Stage 12 of the Giro is another day of climbing with the stage taking in four categorised climbs over 212km between Siena and Bagno di Romagna.

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