Sam Bennett wins stage seven of the Giro d'Italia

Yates in pink as Chaves wins sixth stage on Mount Etna Froome eighth

British rider Simon Yates remains in the overall lead as the race goes over to the Italian mainland.

"I feel relieved. I have been close so many times before in the Giro", said the Bora-Hansgrohe rider.

It was a perfectly constructed race by Mitchelton-Scott - with Kiwi Sam Bewley helping out deep into the stage - as they managed to sneak the risky Chaves into an incredible 28 man breakaway to begin the stage. I attacked too much. "I looked across the road and everyone was looking at each other. I just had to get that wheel, and have a bit of patience as well".

"The start was insane". In the final I rode with Yates, I was first and he claimed the Maglia Rosa.

Four-time Tour de France victor Froome finished tenth among the first chasing group and alongside defending champion Tom Dumoulin. Dumoulin is second in the general classification and Yates's team-mate, Johan Esteban Rubio Chaves, lies third, after a gutsy ride to victory on Thursday.

Pre-race talk centred upon the attempt of another Briton, Chris Froome, to become the third man to win three Grand Tours in a row.

"It was a tough day and a big test for all the GC (General Classification) guys to see where everyone was at", said the 32-year-old Froome.

"I'm really happy. We tried so hard in other sprints but never got the timing right".

"I just missed it sadly, but it's certainly within reach later in the week and really I'm so pleased to be up there with the best again on one of the most iconic climbs around and in the Giro d'Italia!"

With the closest of those being almost half an hour off the pink jersey, an easy day ensued in the bunch and there was never any chance of the 159km day ending in a bunch sprint meaning that most of the riders in the peloton were able to enjoy a relatively relaxed day in the saddle. The peloton remained ever-watchful of those early breaks but eventually allowed a group of 28 riders to go clear, including Jacques Janse van Rensburg for Africa's Team. Niccolo Bonifazio was third at the end of the flat 159-kilometer route along the Calabrian coast from Pizzo to Praia a Mare.