Yates holds off Thomas to win Tirreno-Adriatico

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Simon Yates held off a final-stage challenge from Geraint Thomas to win the eight-day Tirreno-Adriatico race Monday and set himself up as one of the favorites for the Giro d’Italia.

In the concluding 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) individual time trial, Thomas finished 22 seconds ahead of Yates but that wasn’t enough for the 2018 Tour de France champion to overcome the 39-second deficit he opened the day with.

Yates, a British rider with the Mitchelton-Scott team who won the 2018 Spanish Vuelta, finished 17 seconds ahead of Thomas in the overall standings.

“I was not the favorite today so this result is even more important to me,” Yates said. “I went full gas. I gave my best in every stage.”

Rafal Majka dropped from second to third overall, 29 seconds behind.

Italian champion Filippo Ganna, a teammate of Thomas’ with Ineos, won the time trial in just under 11 minutes. Victor Campenaerts finished second, 18 seconds behind, and Rohan Dennis was third, 26 seconds behind.

Thomas finished fourth in the time trial, 28 seconds behind Ganna, while Yates was 18th, 50 seconds behind.

The entirely flat time trial started and ended in San Benedetto Del Tronto along the Adriatic coast.

Yates and Thomas are expected to be among the favorites for the Giro d’Italia next month.

“I’m very happy with my performance but I’m a bit sorry for Thomas who finished second in the (overall standings),” Ganna said. “We hope he can do better in the Giro d’Italia.”

Four-time Tour champion Chris Froome, who was dropped from Ineos’ Tour team this year, finished more than an hour behind Yates in the overall standings.