Italy's Elia Viviani of the Quick Step team won a sprint finish for the Giro d'Italia 17th stage on Wednesday, his fourth win in this year's race.
Team Sky's Chris Froome recorded the fifth best time on the day with a 40:35, which sees him move up to fourth overall, three minutes and 50 seconds down, after Frenchman Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ struggled mightily. "I came to the Giro to win a stage".
"I wasn't losing so much time and I was really trying to hold my position, but then in the final 10k I really died a thousand deaths".
Now only four stages separate Britain's Yates and overall victory in the race.
It was the first Giro d'Italia stage win for the rider from Adelaide who finished second in the opening stage time trial in Jerusalem behind Dumoulin and adds to his stage wins on the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.
Four-time Tour de France victor Chris Froome also had a good day in the saddle, moving up to fourth overall after finishing fifth, 35 seconds behind the Australian.
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"I felt good in the first half".
"It really changes my tactics for the coming days", Yates admitted.
Yeah, yeah. I just put a lot into it.We'll see. I have a bigger gap to the guys behind him as well - it's not only Tom. "I'm really happy. I'm really surprised I've kept the jersey, I'll be honest".
Overall leader Yates lost less time to second-placed defending champion Dumoulin than many observers had predicted. Dumoulin was third, 22 seconds behind the BMC Racing Team cyclist.
"It's pretty good to beat time-trialists like Tony Martin and Tom Dumoulin", Dennis said. "I'd like to have a bigger gap but I'm very satisfied with where I stand now".
Three decisive summit finishes in the Alps precede the final processional stage into Rome - but before then there's a potential banana-skin of a stage from Riva del Garda to Iseo.