But once Chaves was distanced, the teams of overall hopefuls including four-time Tour de France victor Chris Froome, reigning champion Dumoulin, local favourite Fabio Aru and French hope Pinot, pushed the pace in the peloton to ensure the Colombian never regained contact. The overall leader has been the Giro's outstanding climber thus far, pedalling with remarkable agility and seemingly able to open gaps at will.
Yates took a bonus three seconds after winning an intermediate sprint earlier in the stage to strengthen his grip on the maglia rosa, and indicated he might have hit upon a strategy that might continue to pay dividends.
The riders knew the stage would be decided in the last 5km, and after an undulating day they attacked the finish with ferocity.
Yates now leads Dumoulin by 47s.
Of greater concern to Yates is the form of Dumoulin who, although beaten yesterday, proved the only rider capable of staying relatively close to the 25-year-old, chasing him doggedly all the way to the line and finishing just two seconds behind. I'm not scared of the third week; I'm scared of the time trial. "But first, there's this weekend". "That was not the plan, but if it came back I would of course try".
"It's not just me and Tom", Yates said.
As things stand, the point seems moot. He has lost time steadily since his crash on day one while training for the time trial in Jerusalem.
The Englishman, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, launched an opportunistic late attack in the run-in to the finish of stage 11 in the hilltop town of Osimo.
"That was defiantly a lot harder than I expected", Bennett said after the race. "You can only hide it for so long", said Froome. Finally we hear from Sk's sports director Nicolas Portal about another bad day for Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana champion Chris Froome.
Fabio Aru (UAE-Emirates) fared only marginally better.
Their lead grew to over three minutes but began to fluctuate as the race neared the halfway mark. Aru was caught up behind a crash on the run-in to the final kick to the line, but that was perhaps a effect of how far back he was positioned in the pink jersey group.
Yates would hold off the Dutchman to take the stage victory in a time of 3 hours, 25min and 53sec. Like Froome, he needs to do more than simply tread water in Friuli this weekend.
Froome slid behind on the short and steep finish to Osimo in Marche. He remounted and gave chase, coming home 1:05 down on Yates.