Froome (Sky) trails current race leader Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) by two minutes and 27 seconds in 11th place overall and has not at any time looked like the rider who dominated his most recent Grand Tours.
“It is a big gap,” Froome said. “I wouldn’t say it’s likely at this point.”
Froome, however, qualified that observation, noting there are still opportunities ahead to make a difference.
“Stranger things have happened,” he said We’ve got some extremely tough racing coming and we’ve got a long time trial as well.
That 34.2km time trial may prove decisive, with many of the riders ahead of him much weaker in the discipline and Froome one of the best.
It will be an opportunity to regroup but he also trails defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) by one minute and 49 seconds, also a powerhouse against the clock, and one sitting ominously in third overall, just 38 seconds behind Yates.
Froome is attempting the monumental task of trying to win both the Giro and Tour de France in the same year and he says his fitness is timed to peak in the final week of racing in the hopes of holding his form through to Paris.
“I always came into the Giro with the plan of building into the race, with the bigger goal of doing the Giro d’Italia and going on to the Tour de France,” he said.
“It was never my objective to arrive right at the beginning of the Giro absolutely firing on all cylinders because as we’ve seen in riders who’ve done that in the past, they reach July and just have nothing.
“I was always looking to build through this period, but I think the crash (before stage one) was a setback to me. I also think the second crash (during stage eight) didn’t help, also on my right side, but we’re here and that’s the nature of cycling."
Next up for the Giro d’Italia peloton will be a punchy 239km route from Penne to Gualdo Tadino.