Briton Geoghegan Hart was the freshest man at the end of the final ascent, a punishing 14.5-km effort at an average gradient of 7.8%, to beat Dutchman Wilco Kelderman by two seconds.

Kelderman's Sunweb team mate Jai Hindley of Australia was third, four seconds off the pace, after pacing the leading trio up the climb.

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Portuguese Almeida came home fourth, 37 seconds behind the winner. He retained the overall race leader's Maglia Rosa jersey, with a 15-second lead over Kelderman.

It was a bad day at the office for double champion Vincenzo Nibali, however, who dropped to seventh overall, 3:29 behind Almeida after cracking with 8.8 kilometres left on the last ascent.

Ineos-Grenadiers lost team leader Geraint Thomas to a crash early in the race, but they can now count on Geoghegan Hart to mount a challenge in the final week.

The 25-year-old jumped to fourth overall, a distant 2:57 off the pace. But his apparent superiority on Sunday made him a force to be reckoned with, with three more summit finishes left in the race.

Monday is a rest day on the Giro. (Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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