Italy's Elia Viviani won a sprint finish for his fourth stage win of this year's Giro d'Italia on Wednesday (May 23) as Britain's Simon Yates held the leader's pink jersey as the race heads for the Alps.
However, despite the shorter course not being his strongest discipline, he crossed in 22 place, just 75 seconds behind nearest rival, world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin - who finished third on the day.
Viviani, who opened his Giro campaign with back-to-back stage wins and also won stage 13, is the first Italian to win four stages at a Giro since Ivan Basso in 2006 and extended his points classification lead over Bennett to 58 points.
"It s great. Obviously there s still a really hard day tomorrow (Saturday), but the legs are feeling good and I ve been feeling better and better as the race has gone on", said Froome. There's going to be guys going insane in the last week.
"Obviously I wanted to come here to win a stage and I was hoping to do that in Israel in the opening time trial", he said.
"I thought there were attacks I had to follow in the final, but I felt very much in control and capable of following today", he told Eurosport. "It wasn't the case, but I'm glad I could get one here today". I was just really tired and extremely exhausted.
"Once it came down to a bunch sprint, I asked my guys to lead me out".
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There was more bad luck for George Bennett who dropped two places at the Giro d'Italia after technical problems with his bike hindered his performance during the stage 16 time trial.
The four-time Tour de France champion launched his solo attack up the three-week race's highest climb with 80 kilometers (50 miles) to go and rode clear amid banks of snow above the tree line.
"It really changes my tactics for the coming days, I think".
"But the final 10km, I really died a thousands deaths".
Dumoulin began the day in second place, almost three minutes ahead of Froome, but was left desperately trying to minimise the damage inflicted by the Briton on the final climb, although he received precious little help from the chasers. Unfortunately for the fans it means I can be a lot more defensive, all the way to Rome.
Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo remained third, but slipped 3m 11s behind Yates.