Nicolosi — Colombian Esteban Chaves, of the Mitchelton team, won a thrilling sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday that saw Britain’s Chris Froome lose more time to the pink jersey.
Chaves finished just ahead of British teammate Simon Yates, whose late surge to join the 28-year-old Colombian earned him the overall leader’s pink jersey.
FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot finished third, 30sec behind the leading pair, after a 164km ride between Caltanissetta and Etna.
There was suspense all the way as both Mitchelton riders approached the finish line, but in the end Yates sat up to allow Chaves to savour the stage victory.
"Chaves had been out on the road all day, so he deserved the stage win," said Yates, who takes the pink jersey from Australian Rohan Dennis of BMC. Chaves was part of a 28-rider escape group, which fell apart at the foot of Sicily’s Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe.
After a series of attacks and counter-attacks on the way up to Etna, the Colombian climbing specialist pulled away from his rivals with 5.5 km to race.
With Chaves confidently ahead on his own, Yates bided his time amid a series of further skirmishes before pulling away in commanding fashion to join the Colombian in the final kilometre.
"I felt really good, I looked across the road and everyone was looking at each other. I took a chance," added Yates. "The start was crazy. I didn’t really have to do anything, I could sit in the wheels and save energy."
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome finished in tenth place in the first chasing group alongside defending champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands, who is now second overall at 16sec behind Yates.
From Friday, after three days in Sicily, the Giro continues on Italian mainland with the 159km seventh stage between Pizzo and Praia a Mare in Calabria.