After timing his attack perfectly, the Mitchelton-Scott rider also survived the final kick to the finish and the looming rainbows of world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). Starting the day just one second behind overnight race leader Damiano Caruso (BMC), Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) finished third, earning him the bonus seconds needed to wrest the blue jersey from the Italian.
Filottrano, awash in Astana aqua blue and yellow to honour their fallen hero, almost had more reason to celebrate as Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) valiantly tried to bridge across to Yates after his attack. But his heart was unable to overrule his legs and Yates held on for victory.
“I've been feeling good for a few days now," Yates said. "I tried a couple of stages ago but I came second. The team set me up perfectly before the last climb so I could ride away - all I had to do was attack and hold on the bunch. I finished it off. It's been a long time since I last won a race. "My brother won yesterday at Paris-Nice [and] it gave me some extra motivation for today.
Despite the win, the Brit still thought about what might have been.
"It's disappointing that I crashed on stage 2 and lost my hopes for GC but that's part of cycling. I would have been in a good position in the GC...”
A five-rider break featuring Scarponi's ex teammate Dario Cataldo (Astana) got away early, building a six minute lead within 20 kilometres. Yates' teammates did indeed control the race perfectly, working hard on the front to bring back the break with 20 kilometres to go, Cataldo desparately holding on for another 10 kilometres.