Superb Yates takes overall lead in Giro d'Italia

Colombia's rider of team Mitchelton Scott Johan Esteban Chaves smiles in Beer Sheva prior to the start of the 3rd stage of the 101st Giro d'Italia

Colombia's Esteban Chaves victorious in Giro d'Italia's Mount Etna stage

Sam Bennett became the first Irish stage victor at the Giro d'Italia for 31 years yesterday when he powered to victory over favourite Elia Viviani in a scintillating sprint finish at Praia a Mare.

George Bennett has safely navigated through stage seven of the Giro d'Italia, but the real challenges await in the next two days.

"It was just me and (Italian rider Domenico) Pozzovivo attacking and we were stronger than them (Chaves and Yates).well I don't know if we were, maybe they were smarter but they deserved to win", said Bennett.

Thibaut Pinot finished 26 seconds after the Mitchelton-Scott duo in third place and sits fifth in the GC standings.

Dumoulin is second in the general classification and Yates's team-mate, Johan Esteban Rubio Chaves, lies third, after a gutsy ride to victory on Thursday. "I looked across the road and everyone was looking at each other".

With two mountain stages to come at the weekend, Yates's domestiques were given a relatively easy day as the sprinters' teams took responsibility for controlling the gap to the break as Quick-Step Floors and Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia dominated the front of the bunch.

Dutch rider Dumoulin is now second overall at 16sec behind Yates. "Today the goal was to avoid losing seconds and I put in a good performance, so I'm satisfied".

The peloton swept up Davide Ballerini, the last survivor of the day's breakaway, with 14 kilometres left of the 159km stage from Pizzo.

Team Sky's Chris Froome, bidding to complete a Grand Tour triple crown, is a minute and 10 seconds back in eighth spot after finishing 10th.

"I just missed it, sadly, but it's certainly within reach later ... and really I'm so pleased to be up there with the best again on one of the most iconic climbs around and in the Giro d'Italia". "Despite being the third leader's jersey I've had from the three Grand Tours, it was as special as if it had been my first one", he said.

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