Simon Yates did not want to put "a downer" on his stage 14 victory at the Giro d'Italia but is far from satisfied with his overall race.
Yates was seen as one of the contenders for the maglia rosa heading into the first Grand Tour of 2022 but the Briton is way down in 17th place in the general classification standings, 18 minutes and 44 seconds off new race leader Richard Carapaz.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco rider Yates, who won the individual time trial in Budapest on stage two, finished 15 seconds ahead of second-placed Jai Hindley on a day that threw the race wide open.
Yates latched onto a chasing pack that caught up with INEOS Grenadiers rider and 2019 Giro winner Carapaz, who had made a break with 28 kilometres remaining in Saturday's 147km route from Santena to Turin – the first of four consecutive mountain stages.
@RichardCarapazM : "Now we'll try to defend the Maglia Rosa. I didn't remember that I also took it on Stage 14 three years ago but I'm glad to do it again."— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 21, 2022
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Hindley and Vincenzo Nibali, who is racing in his final Giro, were the initial chasers, but Yates – whose GC hopes were all but ended when he dropped 11 minutes on the Blockhaus climb on stage nine – had the momentum to cruise to victory.
While Yates was delighted with a sixth Giro stage win of his career, he could not help but be frustrated by being so far off the pace overall.
"I mean, not to put a downer on the day, but I came here to win the race," the 29-year-old said. "For me, it's another stage. I have five already and it's number six.
"I hope the legs stay as good as today. Today was a really big effort, not just for me but for everybody. The gaps are enormous, so if this heat sticks around it's going to be a very hard final week."
A bad day for Lopez
Juan Pedro Lopez wore pink for 10 straight days but Saturday's stage was always likely to prove crucial and he went from holding a 12-second lead to ninth place, four minutes and four seconds behind Carapraz.
The experienced Ecuadorian attacked at just the right time for the GC standings, even if he was unable to hold on for the stage win.
1. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 3:43:44
2. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:15
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:15
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan Team) +0:15
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:28
1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 58:21:28
2. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:07
3. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +0:30
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 238
2. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 121
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 117
King of the Mountains
1. Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) 92
2. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 69
3. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) 62