PRATO NEVOSO, ITALY – MAY 24: Arrival / Simon Yates of Great Britain and Team Mitchelton-Scott Pink Leader Jersey / during the 101st Tour of Italy 2018, Stage 18 a 196km stage from Abbiategrasso to Prato Nevoso 1607m / Giro d’Italia / on May 24, 2018 in Prato Nevoso, Italy. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Three-time stage winner Simon Yates has retained the pink leader’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia today, despite losing a handful of seconds atop Prato Nevoso.

For the first time this Giro, the break was allowed to contest the stage, whilst Yates fell behind late attacks in the final kilometre to lose 27seconds and reduce his advantage to 28seconds on Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).

The first true breakaway day:
It took 18 stages, but today’s breakaway of 12 riders was the first allowed out to a sizeable advantage.

They established within the first 30km and with Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) the closest in the general classification battle at more than 30minutes adrift, they were allowed to quickly establish an advantage of ten-minutes.

The gap continued to grow to over 15minutes ahead of the final climb, and with a stage win up for grabs, the break attacked each other with Schachmann the victor from Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Team).

The battle behind:
With the stage win out of their hands, the race only began for the favourites group on the final climb.

The battle for the white jersey kicked off first with attacks from Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team). George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) was next before Yates covered a move from Dumoulin.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) reached the pair before attacking over the top. Dumoulin responded but Yates could not as he rode his own pace to the line, finishing 27seconds behind Dumoulin to retain the jersey for another day.

Simon Yates – Race Leader:
“I felt good until the final, I didn’t have great legs there at the end, so I did the best I could and that’s it. I’m still in front and I’d prefer to be in front than behind, so it’s all good. If this is my worst day, this is a good thing.”

“The next couple of days suit me much better. Today was one effort in the final, but like the other stages we have had, tomorrow there are alot of passes and that will fatigue the other guys in the final which helps me alot more.

“Everyone is talking like Dumoulin is just a trial triallist, but he is a classy rider. I’m not surprised he attacked today and I’ve said all along we can’t write any of our rivals in the top ten off.”

Giro d’Italia – Stage 18 results:
1. Maximillian Schacmann (Quick-Step-Floors) 04:55:42
2. Ruben Plaza (Israel-Cycling-Academy) +0:10
3. Mattia Cattaneo (Androni-Sidermec) +0:16
20. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +11:31

Giro d’Italia – General classification after Stage 18:
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 75:06:24
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) +0:28
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +2:43