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

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

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett has rocketed into the top 10 of this year's Giro d'Italia, after grabbing a fourth placed finish on the sixth stage of the Italian tour overnight.

But Bennett stuck to his rival and just pipped the home favourite to the line to become the first Irish victor of a Giro stage since Stephen Roche in 1987.

Yates attacked the field in the last two kilometres and now boasts a 16-second gap over nearest challenger, reigning champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands.

"It felt really good", Yates told Eurosport.

Dennis' defeat was far from decisive, however, as the rider bearing the maglia rosa since Tel Aviv in Israel on Stage 2 crossed the line a relatively minor 1:04 behind stage victor Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott).

Chaves, taking his second Giro stage win, finished just ahead of Britain s Yates, whose late surge to join the 28-year-old Colombian earned him the overall leader s pink jersey. At one stage I thought Quickstep had gone too early and they were looking back to check me out and I was wondering were they trying to panic me and get me to go early again. I took a chance.

"I feel as if I m getting better and better each day after Israel now, with the bigger picture in mind of getting to the third week as strong as possible and obviously this is the first main objective of the season for me and things are still on track".

Four-time Tour de France victor Froome was in eighth place, 1 minute, 10 seconds behind.

"I still have some work to do, but I was actually pretty happy with my climb today", Dennis said later.

"Chaves had been out on the road all day, so he deserved the stage win".

'I said to [Chaves] as soon as I caught him he could take the stage because if I had enough time then I'd take the jersey. Now that his first Grand Tour stage has come, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Bennett.

The only force he couldn't match was the superb showing from the Mitchelton-Scott team, who achieved a rare 1-2 finish atop the mountainous finish.