Yates extends Alps lead for Aust team

British rider Simon Yates has stretched his lead in the Tour of the Alps.
British rider Simon Yates has stretched his lead in the Tour of the Alps.

British rider Simon Yates has stretched his lead in the Tour of the Alps as Chris Froome helped animate the queen stage by joining a breakaway.

The key rider for Australia's Team BikeExchange finished third at the end of the 168.6km run from Naturns to Pieve di Bono on Thursday as Bahrain-Victorious' Pello Bilbao took a win which moved him up to second overall.

After escaping on the final climb, Bilbao, Yates and Astana's Aleksandr Vlasov came to the line together, with Bilbao taking an emotional victory ahead of Vlasov.

Both riders remembered Bilbao's former Astana teammate Michele Scarponi on the fourth anniversary of the Italian's death.

With Ineos Grenadiers' Pavel Sivakov cracking on the final climb and Ireland's Dan Martin losing time with a small crash on the last descent, Yates increased his lead to 58 seconds from Bilbao going into Friday's final stage.

"I tried something on the climb but I think Bilbao was the one guy we didn't want to ride with on the descent because you saw how quick he can go," said Yates, who is using the race to prepare for next month's Giro d'Italia.

Australian Associated Press