Italy’s Alberto Bettiol took victory from the breakaway on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia as overall leader Egan Bernal finished safely in the peloton.
Bettiol timed his effort to perfection on the longest stage of this year’s race – at 231km – to finish 17 seconds clear of Simone Consonni in Stradella.
After a quiet day in the general classification battle, Ineos Grenadiers’ Bernal remains two minutes 21 seconds ahead of Damiano Caruso.
Britain’s Simon Yates is third overall.
Team BikeExchange leader Yates is 3:23 behind Bernal, while compatriot Hugh Carthy is fifth.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s French rider Remi Cavagna launched a strong attack but was caught by Bettiol inside the final 10km.
Winner Bettiol, of EF Education-Nippo, finished over 20 minutes ahead of a relaxed peloton, which included the pink jersey and general classification contenders.
Bernal, who cracked for the first time during Wednesday’s stage 17, said: “I hope I’ve recovered well, I felt much better on the bike than yesterday and I hope tomorrow will be another good day.
“It’s difficult to say I’m super-confident – I’m just trying to do my best. You can’t say you are overconfident because we saw yesterday and in the past years that with one bad day you can lose everything.”
There are three stages remaining at this year’s race.
The riders face a summit finish to Alpe di Mera at an average gradient of 9.1% on stage 19 on Friday.
They will then twice climb above 2,000m during stage 20 to Alpe Motta, before Sunday’s 29.5km individual time-trial in Milan.
Stage 18 results
1. Alberto Bettiol (Ita/EF Education-Nippo) 5hrs 14mins 43secs
2. Simone Consonni (Ita/Cofidis) +17secs
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl/Team DSM) same time
4. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Team DSM)
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita/UAE Team Emirates)
6. Samuele Battistella (Ita/Astana-Premier Tech)
7. Filippo Zana (Ita/Bardiani-CSF-Faizane)
8. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
9. Remi Cavagna (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +24secs
10. Jacopo Mosca (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) +1min 12secs
1. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) 71hrs 32mins 05secs
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) +2mins 21secs
3. Simon Yates (GB/Team BikeExchange) +3:23
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Astana-Premier Tech) +6:03
5. Hugh Carthy (GB/EF Education-Nippo) +6:09
6. Romain Bardet (Fra/Team DSM) +6:31
7. Daniel Martinez (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +7:17
8. Joao Almeida (Por/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +8:45
9. Tobias Foss (Nor/Jumbo-Visma) +9:18
10. Daniel Martin (Irl/Israel Start-Up Nation) +13:37