Froome takes Giro lead with stunning stage win, Yates drops away dramatically

Chris Froome

Chris Froome launched a devastating attack to win stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia and take the leader’s pink jersey from fellow Briton Simon Yates.

Yates was a long way back as Team Sky’s Froome, who attacked with 80km to go, crossed the line in Bardonecchia.

The 33-year-old was fourth prior to Friday’s 184km run from Venaria Reale.

But, with two days remaining, he now has a 40-second lead over Tom Dumoulin as he attempts to become the first British man to win the Giro d’Italia.

The four-time Tour de France champion is also attempting to become only the seventh man to win all three Grand Tours, and just the third to win three in succession.

“I don’t think I’ve ever attacked like that before on my own,” he said.

“The team did such a fantastic job to set it up for me.

“It was going to take something really special to get rid of Simon and get away from Dumoulin. It was now or never. I just had to try.”

He is involved in an ongoing anti-doping case after being found to have double the allowed level of a legal asthma drug in his urine after a test at last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

Had it slipped to the back of his mind, he was reminded as a spectator ran alongside him holding a giant inhaler on Friday’s stage.

Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates had his lead halved on Thursday, losing 28 seconds to Team Sunweb’s Dumoulin.

It was the first time he had struggled since first taking the race lead in stage six.

The Giro d’Italia finishes on Sunday with a flat 115km route into Rome.

How Friday’s stage panned out

Froome’s Team Sky team-mates set a ferocious pace on the first climb up Colle Del Lys, all but sealing Yates’ fate early on.

A breakaway with 120km to go saw a 15-man group open up a one-minute lead, and Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team had no-one in the leading group.

Though the breakaway was soon reeled in, it was an early sign of how this stage would play out for the Briton.

Dumoulin – the 2017 winner – led the chase behind Froome, and was the virtual race leader with 70km remaining.

But Froome showed no sign of slowing and he held a two-minute lead over Dumoulin’s chasing group on the ascent of the Sestriere.

That extended further as Froome crested the climb, taking the King of the Mountains jersey from Yates in the process.

The pink jersey soon followed as he moved into the virtual leader’s position with a gap of two minutes and 58 seconds at 32km remaining.

He eventually crossed the line three minutes ahead of Movistar’s Richard Carapaz, with Dumoulin fifth.

More to follow.

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BBC Sport – Sport