Simon Yates produced a courageous ride to win a gruelling stage nine of the Giro d'Italia and double his lead, as the likes of Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome lost ground on Sunday.
Yates vowed to go on the offensive again in the mountains and he passed another huge test to make a statement to his GC rivals, breaking clear 100 metres from the end to claim his first Giro stage win.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider held a 16-second advantage ahead of the mammoth 225-kilometre stage from Pesco Sannita and now leads by 32 seconds after showing great staying power.
READ MORE: Carapaz climbs to historic Giro win
Yates' team-mate Esteban Chaves finished third just behind Thibaut Pinot and is now second in the GC standings after defending champion Dumoulin crossed the line 12 seconds back.
Team Sunweb's Dumoulin now has 38 seconds to make up on the indefatigable Yates after feeling the pinch on a tough final climb, which got the better of Froome.
Froome's quest to complete a Grand Tour treble suffered a substantial blow, the Team Sky rider finishing over a minute behind Yates back in 23rd spot after he was dropped on that energy-sapping last ascent of the snow-capped mountain.
The Brit is now down in 11 place, two minutes and 27 seconds back from his fellow Englishman Yates, with a rest day to come on Monday.
Fausto Masnada made a bold solo attack to hold a promising lead, but ran out of steam and was caught in the closing stages.
GLOOM FOR DUMOULIN AND FROOME
Dumoulin's bid to claim back-to-back Giro titles suffered a setback when the Dutchman was unable to stay with Yates, Pinot, Chaves, Domenico Pozzovivo and Richard Carapaz.
He was tucked in with the other GC contenders as the tension built late in the stage, but slipped back when a handful of his rivals went on the offensive.
It was an even more damaging day for Froome, the five-time Grand Tour champion seemingly having nothing in the tank at the finale of a demanding day.
Froome, riding with a plaster on his elbow after suffering a minor crash late on stage eight, was unable to handle the pace of Yates' colleague Jack Haig.
The Brit got on the radio to call team-mate Sergio Henao back, but was unable to avoid losing substantial ground.
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 5:54:13
2. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
3. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +0:04
5. Richard Carapaz (Movistar)
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 37:37:15
2. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:32
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:38
1. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) 178
2. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 100
3. Sacha Modolo (Cannondale) 73
King of the Mountains
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 55
2. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) 47
3. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 36
The riders will take a well-earned rest on Monday after a brutal weekend before the longest stage of the race, 239km from Penne to Gualdo Tadino, which should provide an opportunity for attackers, and finishes with a flat last 20km.