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Giro d'Italia: Simon Yates' lead cut in half after stage 18

Giro d'Italia: Simon Yates' lead cut in half after stage 18

Simon Yates is aiming to become the first British man to win the Giro d'ItaliaBritain's Simon Yates had his Giro d'Italia lead cut in half after a dramatic final climb on stage 18.Young German Max Schachmann capitalised on a breakaway to take the stage win after 196km to Prato Nevoso.But all the drama was behind him as Yates lost 28 seconds to Tom Dumoulin, in second, and Chris Froome in fourth.
It was the first time the 25-year-old has cracked in this race, his lead now down to 28 seconds with three stages left - the final one in Rome.
Simon Yates' Giro d'Italia stage-by-stage guide
With the last 15km all uphill at an average gradient of 7%, Yates would have feared a move from the powerful Dumoulin, of the Netherlands.But it was Briton Froome who made the first telling attack within the final 2km, and while Dumoulin and Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo went with him, the race leader could not respond.Suddenly he was vulnerable, and his rivals sensed blood.Froome had team-mate Wout Poels up the road to help, at least until the Dutchman took a wrong turn on a hairpin, and with Dumoulin working with him, the gap began to stretch and stretch.Yates had performed superbly in Tuesday's time trial but perhaps that effort had taken a bigger toll than others realised.Dumoulin stays second overall, with Pozzovivo now two minutes 43 seconds back in third, and Froome still fourth but closing to within three minutes 22 seconds of the lead.Yates said afterwards: "I didn't have great legs, but I did the best I could. I'm still in front, so it's all good."Both Friday and Saturday are brutal mountainous days before Sunday's processional stage around Rome, and a race that appeared Yates' to lose is suddenly wide open once again.A happy looking Dumoulin said: "At 2km to go, I tried to see what was possible. Then Froome attacked, and I suddenly found out he [Yates] was dropped, and that was nice."The coming two days are going to be even harder than today, so we'll just have to see."Earlier, a 12-man break devoid of any threats to the general classification had 15 minutes over the peloton for much of the closing 50km before Boy van Poppel tried a solo break with 18km to go.The effort cost the Dutchman and he dropped back down as the break began to splinter on the final climb.With 8km to go, a group of six began to attack each other - and as the resort's outskirts were reached, Schachmann and Italian Matteo Catteneo were out on their own.The general classification contenders were still 13 minutes back as Cattaneo tried to lead it out but the two were so cautious that the veteran Ruben Plaza was able to catch them with 900m to go.And it was the 24-year-old Schachmann who took his first grand tour stage win, with Plaza second on the day and Cattaneo third.
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