British star Chris Froome insists he will not give up despite losing precious time ahead of the final week of the Giro d’Italia.
The four-time Tour de France champion was fifth in the standings ahead of the stage in the Dolomites. However, he slipped to seventh overall after finishing 17th on the day.
Pink jersey wearer Simon Yates is now five minutes in front of Froome going into the final week, which sees the race end in Rome on Sunday.
Yates is as short as 1.40 to win the race, while defending champion Tom Dumoulin will be looking to impress during Tuesday’s 34.2-kilometre time-trial at Rovereto in Trentino.
Ahead of the final few days, Froome admits it will be difficult to win although he is refusing to throw in the towel.
He told reporters: “It’s been a brutal race, but it’s also been a beautiful race. This is bike racing at its best and it’s what people want to see. Real edge-of-the-seat stuff and unpredictable racing, too.
“If I gain anything on Tom Dumoulin I’ll be very happy. He’s the world champion time-triallist, I don’t expect to gain anything on him tomorrow, but let’s see.
“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and I’m certainly not going to expect anything (to be easy) for the rest of this Giro.
“(The gap) is big, especially the way Simon has been riding, he hasn’t shown one moment of weakness so far and only seems to be getting stronger. I’m not going to give up.”