Colombia's Esteban Chaves won stage six of the Giro d'Italia at the top of Mount Etna on Thursday with a little help from Mitchelton-Scott team mate Simon Yates, who became the new race leader.

Chaves produced a scintillating burst of pace on the climb up the volcano at the end of the 169km stage but was reeled in by Yates who burst clear of the pursuing group in the final two kilometres.

As the two riders reached the final few metres, powerful Briton Yates slowed to let Chaves, who had spent the day in the escape group, take the stage win.

Yates had begun the day in third place, 17 seconds behind race leader Rohan Dennis, who laboured on the twisty Etna climb.

Nicolas Roche finished in 46th, 5:55 off Chaves. That leaves the BMC rider 36th in the General Classification.

His compatriot Ryan Mullen meanwhile was 138th for Trek-Segrafredo, with Bora Hansgrohe's Sam Bennett in the same group. The are 143rd and 122nd respectively overall.  

"It felt really good," the 25-year-old Yates told Eurosport when reflecting on his performance. "There was a little bit of a gap, so I took the chance.

"I said to him (Chaves) as soon as I caught him that he could take the stage. He deserved it."

Groupama-FDJ rider Thibaut Pinot finished third, 26 seconds behind the leading duo in the same group as reigning champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Tour de France champion Chris Froome and UAE Team Emirates rider Fabio Aru.

Dumoulin is 16 seconds adrift of Yates in second place overall while Froome, who has been off the pace at times so far, is one minute 10 seconds back.

Chaves is third overall, 26 seconds back, ahead of Friday's mainly flat 159km stage.