Colombia’s Egan Bernal took control of the overall standings in the Giro d’Italia by extending his lead in the race to 45 seconds.
Switzerland’s Mauro Schmid won a dramatic stage 11 from a breakaway as riders struggled with the intense gravel roads of Tuscany.
British duo Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates moved up to fourth and fifth respectively despite losing time.
“I’m happy to arrive at the front but we need to stay focused,” said Bernal.
Yates, 28, who had questioned whether the 162km run from Perugia to the town of Montalcino had a place on a Grand Tour due to the high risk of mechanical issues and crashes, said he was pleased overall with his performance on Wednesday.
The Team Bike Exchange rider added: “Onwards and upwards. It wasn’t a day I was looking forward to but I think I did a good ride. The legs were good, and that’s the main thing.”
Several general classification contenders were left reeling by the famed Strade Bianche, with Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel conceding more than two minutes to fall from second to seventh overall.
The 21-year-old, riding his maiden career Grand Tour and first race since fracturing his pelvis last year, ran into trouble on the third gravel section and looked nervous on the descents.
He then found himself in an angry discussion with Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mate Joao Almeida and ripped out his earpiece after the Portuguese left it late to drop back to help – leaving his bid for the pink jersey over.
Qhubeka-Assos’ Schmid held off Alessandro Covi of UAE Team Emirates in a two-man sprint to the line to take his first professional victory.
Stage 12 takes place on Thursday with the 212km route setting off from Siena and finishing in Bagno di Romagna.
Stage 11 results
1 Mauro Schmid (Swi/Team Qhubeka Assos) 4hrs 1min 5secs
2 Alessandro Covi (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +0:01secs
3 Harm Vanhoucke (Bel/Lotto Soudal) +0:26secs
4 Dries De Bondt (Bel/Alpecin-Fenix) +0:41secs
5 Simon Guglielmi (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) same time
6 Enrico Battaglin (Ita/Bardiani CSF Faizane) +0:44secs
7 Roger Kluge (Ger/Lotto Soudal) +1min 23secs
8 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita/Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team) +1min 37secs
9 Taco van der Hoorn (Ned/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) +1min 43secs
10 Lawrence Naesen (Bel/AG2R Citroen Team) +1min 59secs
11 Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +3mins 9secs
12 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +3mins 12secs
13 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Astana-Premier Tech) +3mins 32secs
14 Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) +3mins 35secs
15 Simon Yates (GB/Team BikeExchange) +3mins 35secs
1 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col/ Ineos Grenadiers) 42 hours 35mins 21secs
2 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Astana-Premier Tech) +45secs
3 Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) +1min 2ecs
4 Hugh Carthy (GB/EF Education-Nippo) +1min 17secs
5 Simon Yates (GB/Team BikeExchange) +1min 22secs
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 50secs
7 Remco Evenepoel (Bel/Deceuninck-QuickStep) +2mins 22secs
8 Giulio Ciccone (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 24secs
9 Tobias Foss (Nor/Jumbo-Visma) +2mins 49secs
10 Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +3mins 15secs