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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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.