"Basically, I just have to hold on for as long as possible".
The 28-year-old's poor luck continued with his bike suffering more mechanical problems in finishing 3m 4s behind stage victor Rohan Dennis to slip to 10th in the overall rankings.
Yates' monumental efforts over the 16 stages so far have earned him well-deserved praise from all sides, but there was concern Tuesday's time trial would impact severely in the two minute and 11-second lead he had built up.
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That meant that instead of surrendering the pink jersey to the world time trial champion, as many thought he might, Yates enters the last five days of the race with a commanding buffer.
"It's a good gap and I'll see what I can do". Anything can happen. Friday, featuring the Cima Coppi (the highest point in the race) the 2178m Colle delle Finestre, should be particularly good fun, while Saturday's summit finish also sees the riders climb to 2,000m.
"To come here and repay the team for all their hard work, and jump back into the top 10 is a big day for me".
"Being in the lead after the time trial changes my tactics for the remaining stages", he said. "Unfortunately for the fans, I might be more defensive. From the start I felt I wasn't great", said Pinot who posted the 66th best time. "I'm in a good position now and I really hope I can take it all the way to Rome". "I'd like to have a bigger gap but I'm very satisfied with where I stand now".
Wednesday's 17th stage over 155km from Riva del Garda to Iseo, east of Milan, should suit the sprinters.