Belgium’s Tim Wellens won the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia with a solo ride to victory as Tom Dumoulin extended his overall lead.
Lotto Soudal rider Wellens rode clear of a five-man breakaway on the climb to the summit finish at Aremogna to win by more than a minute from Jakob Fuglsang.
Race leader Dumoulin rode away from Giro favourites including Vincenzo Nibali to finish fourth on the stage.
He leads Fuglsang by 26 seconds while Nibali is 47 seconds adrift in ninth.
Dumoulin, who won the opening time trial and regained the race leader’s pink jersey after stage four, was 16 seconds clear of the field heading into stage six.
The 18km ascent to the finish was not expected to suit the Dutchman but he kept pace with more renowned climbers such as Astana’s Nibali, Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Team Sky’s Mikel Landa on the lower slopes.
And, after a Nibali attack had been nullified, Dumoulin went clear and rode to the finish with Fuglsang and Ilnur Zakarin, crossing the finish line 82 seconds after Wellens.
Crucially though, the Giant-Alpecin rider finished 14 seconds ahead of Valverde and 21 clear of Nibali.
“Nibali attacked on a bad moment and Sky brought him back,” said Dumoulin.
“I saw the moment to attack and I went. We have a strong team, but not the strongest so we have to gamble sometimes, like today.”
Wellens, who recorded his first Grand Tour stage win, said: “I’m super happy. I had a lot of pressure because one of my objectives was to win a stage and I did it.
“Tomorrow I will try to help Andre Greipel win again.”
Friday’s stage seven, a 211km race from Sulmona to Foligno, is expected to finish in a bunch sprint with stage five winner Greipel and fellow German Marcel Kittel, who has won two stages so far, among the favourites.
Stage six result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto) 4hrs 40mins 05secs
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +1min 19secs
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus/Katusha) Same time
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Giant) +1min 22secs
5. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr/Dimension Data) +1min 24secs